Welcome to the AfTIAS website and thank you for your interest in this Program.
The focus of the first phase of the Aid-for-Trade Initiative for the Arab States (AfTIAS) Program, conducted between 2014-2018 by the International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC), on behalf of the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) Group, was to bolster trade in the Arab region, where intra trade between Arab states is one of the lowest levels in the world today.
This first phase was concluded with a successful record of 28 projects implemented in 19 countries, in collaboration with five UN agencies and four other international institutions.
In 2018, ITFC commissioned an independent evaluation to assess the effectiveness of the program and to draw lessons learned from its implementation. Subsequently, the Arab Economic Summit, held in Beirut in January 2019, mandated ITFC to prepare and launch the second phase of AfTIAS, in cooperation with the League of Arab States (LAS) and all Arab countries.
In pursuance of this decision, the AfTIAS 2.0 Program was designed between July 2019 and February 2020. It was then updated in April 2020 to accommodate new factors arising from the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on the economies of the region.
Henceforth, AfTIAS 2.0 was designed to be a five-years program with the main objective to “enhance the environment for international trade in the Arab region by making it more efficient and inclusive, thereby creating opportunities for employment and contributing to sustainable development”.
While the COVID-19 pandemic had delayed the launch of the Program, ITFC led a communication and resource mobilization campaign that attracted the interest of both donor and beneficiary countries in the region. In this context, ITFC organized the first meeting of the AfTIAS 2.0 Program Board in Jeddah at the end of October 2021. Participants expressed sincere gratitude to the donors who showed high interest in supporting trade infrastructure in the Arab region and contributed financially to AfTIAS 2.0. The donors thus far are the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Arab Republic of Egypt, the Islamic Republic of Mauritania, the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria, the Arab Organization for Agricultural Development (AOAD), IsDB, ITFC and the Trade Development Fund (TDFD) managed by ITFC.
AfTIAS 2.0 is a program-based global partnership involving Arab countries, donors, regional and international organizations seeking to support Arab states to be more active players in the global trading system by helping them mitigate obstacles to trade. This way, the program works towards a wider goal of promoting economic growth and sustainable development. The continuous support of its partners is needed for its successful implementation.
The Aid for Trade Initiative for the Arab States (AfTIAS), launched by ITFC on behalf of the IDB Group in November 2013, is an exceptional opportunity for the Arab region not only to increase their intra-trade, but also to increase their participation in the world trade in pursuance of the decisions of the Arab Economic Summit’s decisions. AfTIAS is a “unique partnership” composed of the League of Arab States (LAS) Member Countries, five UN Agencies and seven donors working together to assist the Arab Countries to improve their trade capacity and to benefit from the expansion of global markets. These improvements are supporting economic growth and jobs creation.
We are halfway through the implementation and we believe that AfTIAS will help reduce the cost of trading and address the binding constraint to growth in the Arab region we are very appreciative of the role played by AfTIAS in helping LAS to strengthen its capacity to promote regional trade integration. The Initiative aims to translate the major trends and strategies to specific interventions to support the trade reform policy and support close economic relations in the region.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank ITFC for the assistance, important role and advice that have been given since the inception of AfTIAS, which would continue to provide a strong basis for moving the initiative forward and ensure that AfTIAS follows the path of similar initiatives in other regions.