Covid-19: How the ICD plans to support the African private sector

Covid-19: How the ICD (Islamic Development Bank group) plans to support the African private sector

During the current crisis, the private arm of the Islamic institution is particularly targeting  finance, agriculture and health. The continent’s banking players will serve as preferred intermediaries.

“At the end of March, we decided to set up an emergency fund of $250m,” says Ayman Sejiny, CEO of the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD), joined in Jeddah by Jeune Afrique Business+. This sum is part of a larger programme established by the Islamic Development Bank (IDB), its parent company, which is making available $730m for its 57 member countries’ private and public sectors.

The continent’s share is yet to be confirmed. Ayman Sejiny states that the funds “will be mainly directed to client banks in African countries”, typically in North and West Africa. “This is how we prefer to assist SMEs. These banks have in-depth knowledge in their field, and in view of our investment policy – with often majority shareholdings – our respective interests are aligned,” explains Sejiny. In addition to loans and financing options, capital increases in the banks will be undertaken if necessary. Among the 42 financial institutions in its African portfolio, ICD’s clients include Banque Sahelo-Saharienne pour l’Investissement et le Commerce (BSIC), Tamweel Africa HoldingAfriland Cameroon and Al-Akhdar Bank in Morocco.

Via the banking sector, ICD’s priority targets are agriculture, energy and health. “We want to support companies that are doing their bit to fight the epidemic,” the leader continued, citing health centres as an example but without giving specific names.

Jeune Afrique Business+ has also learned that, since the beginning of the crisis, the President of the IDB, Bandar Hajjar, has been conducting several meetings each week as part of a task force composed of the CEOs of each group entity that comprise the ICD; the Islamic Research and Training Institute (IRTI); the Islamic Corporation for the Insurance of Investment and Export Credit (ICIEC); the International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC), and the World Waqf Foundation.

As at the latest available annual data in 2018, ICD’s capital had exceeded $3bn with the institution supporting 10 African projects at a total amount of $330m, representing 67% of the costs incurred during the whole year.