President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih on Tuesday decided to seek approval from the Parliament for the Maldives to join the International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC). The President made the decision based on a paper submitted by the Ministry of Finance after discussions with his Cabinet at the session held today at the President’s Office.

The ITFC is a member of the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB). It was established with the ethos of advancing trade among the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) member countries, which would contribute to the overarching goal of improving the socio-economic conditions of people across the globe. The ITFC’s trade finance division provides Shariah-compliant trade financing for OIC members, focusing on financing intra-trade between the member countries.

Maldives has been engaged with ITFC since 2005, even though it is not an official member. In 2005, ITFC granted the Maldives US$20 million as a tsunami relief package. Over the years, ITFC continued to offer the Maldives trade financing assistance, the latest of which was provided in May 2020 during the Covid-19 pandemic—the corporation granted Maldives a total of US$20 million for procuring staple foods and medical supplies. A designated sum of US$5 million from the total amount contributed in 2020 was allotted for assisting Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) that were affected by the pandemic.