The success of the IsDB Group and its initiatives rests on the shoulders of many partners. This is the IsDB’s first year honoring the institutions which have been instrumental in paving new roads and pioneering innovation for the benefit of stakeholders. The ISDB AWARDS BOARD has the story.
The IsDB Group is blessed with a diverse membership. This gives it the unique capability to encourage more trade and investment among member countries. The IsDB, with many of its least developed member countries, has been able to gather the resources to support new initiatives for growth and development.
Three IsDB Group entities, namely Islamic Corporation for the Insurance of Investment and Export Credit (ICIEC), Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD) and International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC) canvassed their counterparties and secured nominations for six unique categories:
ICIEC: 1– Export Credit Agency of the Year 2023
2- Most Innovative Investment Development Initiative of the Year 2023
ICD: 3– Most Impactful Islamic Financial Institution of the Year 2023
4- Most Impactful ICD Investee Company of the Year 2023
ITFC: 5– Trade Finance Deal of the Year 2023
6- Outstanding Contribution to Intra-OIC Trade Development 2023
The 2023 nominees for these award categories were from Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Djibouti, Uzbekistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Egypt, the Maldives, Uganda and Malaysia. The countries positively impacted were many more.
Each award, nominee and winner reflects a pillar of the IsDB Group work in strengthening its member countries. The awards cover bilateral collaboration between IsDB Group entities and partners in member countries.
Islamic Corporation for the Insurance of Investment and Export Credit (ICIEC): The role of export credit agencies is among the most important factors in bringing suitable credit and opportunity to IsDB member states. European credit agencies have been nibbling at the edges of the Islamic market, mostly supporting the largest economies in the OIC. The ICIEC has been able to work with indigenous and regional agencies to leverage South–South capacity in supporting trade.
- Export Credit Agency of the Year 2023: Saudi EXIM Bank is the winner for 2023. Working with private sector banks in Saudi Arabia, Saudi EXIM Bank supported fertilizer exports to Bangladesh by Maaden and LPG exports to Egypt by Aramco and these were among many other important deals. With gross volume of financing and insurance services provided to exporters exceeding US$2.5 billion as at 2022, its contribution to the Vision 2023 objectives is laudable. A critical contribution of Saudi EXIM Bank is its current reinsurance agreement with the ICIEC worth approximately US$140 million. Together, everyone grows stronger.
- Most Innovative Investment Development Initiative of the Year 2023: The winner is Uganda’s Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development (MoFPED). The ICIEC supported an innovative program-based funding of selected projects in the 2022 infrastructure and development budget of the Republic of Uganda. These included EUR146 million (US$160.38 million) for the MoFPED for diverse projects covering agriculture, climate action, education, healthcare, power infrastructure, transportation and water infrastructure. This support embraced a streamlined impact reporting requirement for mapping the program outcomes to the target intervention. The design of this initiative enhances country project ownership and flexibility of intervention without compromising the impact reporting criteria set by financiers and the ICIEC. The deals soften the multiple challenges facing Uganda due to global warming, commodity price disruption due to the war in Ukraine and the lingering impact of COVID-19 on the national economy. Private sector participants included Standard Chartered Bank UK (as the agent) and Standard Chartered Bank (Hong Kong) and Societe Generale (as participants) in the ICIEC-backed Murabahah financing.
Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD): The ICD has been an essential player in the introduction of Islamic finance to the private sector in its member countries. The ICD’s role is critical to support the private sector, especially SMEs, via a basketful of different modes of financing.
- Most Impactful Islamic Financial Institution of the Year 2023: The winner is JSCB Agrobank (Uzbekistan). Agrobank accessed its fifth line of financing since its first access in 2018. As a result of strong relations between Agrobank and the ICD, 35 SME projects were successfully financed, and more than a thousand new workplaces were created with those funds. In February 2023, Agrobank successfully closed a new line of financing agreements with the amount of US$10 million. Under the current regulation, Agrobank has limitations in expanding its Islamic financing activities. Nonetheless, the bank has proven effective at expanding its Islamic banking reach to a wider universe of Uzbek customers. As the largest Uzbek bank, Agrobank is a key standard bearer for the expansion of Islamic finance in that important Silk Road link.
- Most Impactful ICD Investee Company of the Year 2023: The winner is Egypt’s Enmaa Finance Company (EFC). EFC achieved a 50% portfolio growth and expanded its products to include factoring in response to COVID-19 payment slowdowns suffered by its clients, reverse factoring (supply chain financing) and securitization to its portfolio. Enmaa serves 59 SMEs with EGP555 million (US$17.92 million) in facilities. Founded in 2015 as a joint stock company under the ICD, Arab Investment Bank and Ayady for Investment and Development Company, Enmaa provides Shariah compliant leasing and factoring solutions for a wide variety of businesses. An important example of Enmaa’s role was the support for a major client which was heavily affected given the strict lockdowns implemented on the borders of major-exporting countries including China, Taiwan and Korea. At the beginning of 2022, EFC was able to successfully initiate a plan to revive the client’s operations through granting it a factoring facility to finance its purchases. Since then, the client’s performance has improved.
International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC): The ITFC has proven during its 15 years to be a vital lifeline for some of the IsDB’s most vulnerable members. It has also been a critical player in building intra-OIC collaboration in trade and investment.
- ITFC Trade Finance Deal of the Year 2023: The winner is City Bank (Bangladesh). After opening its first letter of credit (LC) through the ITFC channel, City Bank opened three more LCs throughout the period. The bank has utilized the ITFC’s resources to facilitate trade transactions across its corporate portfolio for more than just wheat imports. Transactions include industrial raw materials, capital equipment, spare parts and fabrics. The bank availed US$33.28 million during the period of the 1st April 2022 to the 31st March 2023. The funds utilized were to meet the finance requirement of its LCs which were related to financing agriculture, construction and the wellbeing of the people.
The war between Ukraine and Russia has upset the global grain markets. This has had an adverse impact on countries dependent upon seeds and grains from these two countries. For the deal in question, City Bank availed its ITFC facilities to execute an import LC favoring a Singaporean trader for the import of Ukrainian wheat. The deal is an example of the ITFC’s credit support facilities as a confirming bank for member state institutions which are sub-investment grade.
- Outstanding Contribution to Intra-OIC Trade Development 2023: The winner is Agrobank (Uzbekistan): The bank availed the ITFC’s line of financing to support domestic Uzbek businesses in acquiring raw materials and capital equipment mainly from OIC countries such as Turkiye, Republic of Kazakhstan, Republic of Tajikistan and Republic of Kyrgyzstan.
The IsDB Group is proud to work closely with each of these institutions in the improvement of its collective economic improvement. The IsDB’s awards are meant to inspire all member countries and their private sector institutions to strive for impactful development and growth which will contribute to the achievements of the SDGs and the objectives of the IsDB Strategic Realignment Strategy 2023–2025.