Lusaka, Friday 18, March 2016: The Islamic Development Bank (IDB) is exploring possible areas of cooperation with COMESA on regional integration programs.

Pursuant to this, the Senior Cooperation Specialist Mr. Ali IBN Abi Talib Mahmoud visited COMESA Secretariat, Friday 18 March 2016 and held talks with the Acting Secretary General Amb. Nagla El Hussainy and other senior officials.

The objective of the IDB mission was to explore possible areas of partnership on specific regional integration programmes. These include cross-border cooperation, improving regional exports/intra-regional trade, trade facilitation, enhancing competitiveness of the private sector in regional market taking into consideration of the great economic and development potential of the Tripartite FTA

In his remarks, Mr Mahmoud noted that COMESA has the highest number of the IDB members among regional economic communities in Africa.

“A direct cooperation with COMESA would provide an appropriate avenue for further strengthening Banks support to the member States,” he said.

He identified the COMESA-EAC-SADC Tripartite negotiations as an initiative that the Bank’s would be interested in providing direct support through COMESA, given the number of IDB members that also members of COMESA.

Six COMESA Member States namely Comoros, Djibouti, Egypt, Libya, Sudan and Uganda belong to the Organization of Islamic Co-operation (OIC).

Amb. El Hussainy said COMESA was keen to work with the IDB on furthering the already existing cordial relationship. She extended an invitation to the bank to participate in the next COMESA policy organs meetings in October 2016.

The Islamic Development Bank is an international financial institution established to foster the economic development and social progress of member countries and Muslim communities individually as well as jointly in accordance with the principles of Islamic Law.

The Bank participates in equity capital and grant loans for productive projects and enterprises besides providing financial assistance to member countries in other forms for economic and social development. The Bank is also required to establish and operate special funds for specific purposes including a fund for assistance to Muslim communities in non-member countries, in addition to setting up trust funds.