The two institutions held a bilateral meeting this week to discuss two project agreements: one for the cotton sector, and the other for Sudan’s dairy sector. They were attended by Eng. Hani Salem Sonbol, CEO of ITFC, and LI Yong, director-general of UNIDO. 

The projects will support two key initiatives, including the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI), which aims to revive the Egyptian cotton industry by supporting growers to cultivate sustainable cotton. 

The two institutions say they will ensure both sectors remain resilient with increased production, easier access to finance, and an enhanced safe operating environment for workers.

“ITFC’s participation demonstrates a commitment to nurture the cotton sector’s economic prospects by strengthening the overall value chain,” said Sonbo. “ITFC is confident that our partnership with UNIDO will continue to add value to important economic sectors, contribute to industrialisation, build stronger economies and, ultimately, support Organisation of Islamic Cooperation member countries as they emerge from the pandemic with more resilience.”

Yong added: “The mission of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization is to promote and accelerate inclusive and sustainable industrial development (ISID). This strategic partnership with ITFC will promote industrialisation, trade, and sustainable development for our common member countries towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals in general and SDG 9, in particular.”

During the meeting, Sonbol highlighted ITFC’s interest in expanding the partnership with UNIDO in Asia, the CIS, Europe, and Latin America. 

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The participation of UNIDO in the second phase of the Aid-for-Trade Initiative for Arab States (AfTIAS 2.0) was also addressed, with its development 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”. 

The discussion concluded with the exploration of new avenues of partnership in support of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), especially in the area of the sectoral and industrial impacts of the AfCFTA in Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) member countries.