Etihad Credit Insurance highlights growing role of government-backed ECAs in bridging trade finance gaps

Massimo Falcioni, CEO of ECI, giving the opening speech of the event

(Second from left) Abdalla AlHosani, Director of Commercial, Distribution and Strategic Partnerships at ECI during the panel discussion

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES, March 17, 2022 / — The growing role of government-backed export credit agencies in bridging financing gaps for trade and export enterprises – especially to meet the short-term working capital needs – was highlighted by Etihad Credit Insurance (ECI) in the TXF Middle East & Africa: Export and Project Finance 2022.

Delivering the keynote address for the event, Massimo Falcioni, CEO of Etihad Credit Insurance (ECI), the UAE’s federal export credit corporation, said that at the onset of COVID-19, the he OECD predicted that governments would turn to their export credit agencies (ECAs) to fill any financing gaps left by the private market. They predicted that ECAs should mitigate the impact of the crisis by engaging in short-, medium- and long-term trade finance.

“It is true that we have seen trade and export-related businesses encounter trade finance issues due to increased short-term financing costs for SMEs and higher rates of rejected applications. In response to this, government-backed ECAs responded in a timely manner by increasing their trade finance support to businesses. At ECI, our support to UAE exporters in the non-oil sector increased by 260% in 2021 to reach AED 18 billion from AED 5 billion the previous year,” Falcioni said.

He added that during the recently concluded meeting organized by the ECI of the Prague Club Committee of the Berne Union here in Dubai, it was revealed that government-backed ECAs responded in a timely manner by increasing their trade finance support to businesses.

“Short-term export credit is indeed now the largest business among CPC member countries in 2021. It is the only segment of export credit that has seen a significant upward trend, with a 7% year-over-year increase in the first half of 2021 compared to the same period in 2020,” he said.

Strengthening ties between the MENA region and sub-Saharan Africa

Falcioni also highlighted the importance of unlocking untapped trade potentials between the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) and Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) regions.

“The growing development of commercial and infrastructure projects in renewable energy and healthcare between the Middle East and African regions highlights new avenues for economic cooperation and prospects for forming mutually beneficial partnerships between the ACEs in the respective countries,” he added.

The huge success of Expo 2020 Dubai has become a tremendous boost to strengthen ties between regions, as it highlights the importance of boosting the economic growth of communities through sustainable development. With climate change and sustainability at the center of the event, the summit highlighted the need for MENA and SSA countries to join forces to address climate challenges through a transition to renewable energy.

Considered one of the largest gatherings of export credit and project finance agencies in the world, the TXF Middle East & Africa: Export and Project Finance 2022 took place on March 15-16 at the Grand Habtoor Resort, Dubai. ECI is the main hosting partner.

With active participation and in-depth discussions among important export and project finance players, this event ended on a high note, predicting a positive future of trade and economic prosperity in the regions.

The conference took place at a time when cooperation between Africa and the Middle East has arguably never been greater, with several key players trying to reap the benefits of a promising trade corridor between the two regions. In addition, the newly formed Middle East ECAs are now joining forces because of their common interest in boosting the region’s exports and their confidence in Africa as a key reciprocal trade market.

Advancing Halal Trade and the SDGs

Falcioni said halal trade is a critical area where these regions can see dramatic growth. By leveraging Sharia-compliant financial solutions, they can make significant strides towards achieving the UN SDG goals by building resilient infrastructure, promoting sustainable industrialization and fostering innovation.

“Two years ago, we launched ECI Islamic at TXF Middle East & African 2020. At that time, we were to deliver keynote speeches and panel discussions via video conference. We boldly launched ECI Islamic, a suite of Sharia-compliant products, at the height of the COVID-19 crisis as part of our positive and proactive initiative to bridge the trade finance gap and leverage the potential of the halal market globally,” he said. .

Meanwhile, during a panel discussion titled “Celebrating Collaboration: Local ECAs Facilitating Growth in the Middle East and Africa,” Abdalla AlHosani, Director of Business, Distribution and Strategic Partnerships at ECI, said: “ Major countries in the region are now stepping up their efforts to transform their existing economic system by strengthening non-oil industry. As a result, export finance is becoming increasingly influential in shaping the future economy of the region, with the improvement of trade relations between the countries, supported by the active collaboration of ECAs and state-supported financial institutions. .

In another panel discussion at the event – “It’s Not So Easy Being Green: Sustainable Export Finance in the Middle East and Africa” ​​- Zishan Iqbal, Director of Murabaha Solutions and Projects at medium/long term at ECI, declared that self-sufficiency and independence from oil appear to be an important objective for the countries of the region. He also highlighted the critical role of the ICE in realizing the UAE’s vision to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, which emphasize the nation’s leadership role in shaping the future. post-oil Middle Eastern countries.

Vince Ang
New Perspective Media Group
+971 554739253
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