CEO of ITFC, Eng. Hani Salem Sonbol at the signing ceremony for the bank deal
CEO of ITFC, Eng. Hani Salem Sonbol at the signing ceremony for the bank deal

By Dennis Lukhoba

Senegal’s private sector is set to benefit from an International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC) initiative that seeks to empower small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) across the country.

The ITFC, a member of the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) Group, has approved a Murabaha Financing of EUR 8 million (Sh950 million) for the Senegalese bank, Banque Islamique du Senegal (BIS), to support the Bank’s trade finance operations within Senegal’s private sector.

The financing is aimed at helping Senegal, a member of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), to continue to contribute to economic inclusion by gearing capital towards the private sector, a key driver of jobs and socio-economic development, in this period of economic crisis resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. Around 300,000 SMEs and microenterprises account for 90% of businesses in Senegal.

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The Murabaha will positively serve intra-OIC trade, which is ITFC’s trade finance and development mandate. Furthermore, the facility is expected to support around 1,000 jobs within the private sector, including companies in food and distribution.

In an effort to address the current crisis, the Government of Senegal has implemented a significant response plan that includes medical and social measures. The swift disbursement of this financing by ITFC has enabled local private companies to procure urgent food staples, and support national response efforts to ensure food security.

The CEO of ITFC, Eng. Hani Salem Sonbol, spoke of the importance of the financing, saying, “This Murabaha is a necessary intervention during extraordinarily difficult global conditions and will support BIS’ and the Government’s efforts to safeguard the availability of much-needed commodities for the people of Senegal. It also aims to support private companies that are the nation’s largest employers”.

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ITFC has been actively supporting trade development in Senegal since its inception in 2008 through financing and trade facilitation programs in favour of the West African country and its critical sectors, such as energy and agriculture.

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