New UN initiative to work towards Pan-Arab Free Trade Zone

Ahram Online, Sunday 22 Apr 2012

Pan-Arab free trade area moves step closer with UN initiative to promote economic cooperation in the region

The International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC) is leading an initiative to develop the trade capacity of Arab countries and provide momentum for the realisation of the Pan-Arab free trade area.

The initiative is led by ITFC but is supported by five United Nations specialised agencies, the International Labour Organisation (ILO), the International Trade Centre (ITC), the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO).

The initiative encompasses unleashing entrepreneurial potential and creative talents, diversifying Arab economies, and providing women and men with the economic opportunities they need to live a better life and build more resilient and inclusive societies, a statement released by the UNCTAD said on Sunday.

The League of Arab States is also collaborating closely with the ITFC in the implementation of the initiative.

“The Arab Aid for Trade Initiative…will help Arab countries to mobilise resources to expand trade beyond current levels, boost economic growth and employment, reverse deindustrialisation, and ultimately achieve poverty elimination and human development outcomes,” Dr Walid Al-Wohaib, chief executive officer of the (ITFC) said on Saturday.

The Islamic Development Bank Group will contribute $2 million to the first phase of the initiative while the other UN agencies will provide specialised interventions including assistance in the design of policy reforms to address unemployment and competitiveness and enhance the implementation of the Pan-Arab Free Trade Area.

Short link: