The promotion of investments and trade among member states of OIC has always received greater attention of the member states and decision-makers of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). Trade is considered a crucial component for intra-OIC socio-economic cooperation and development, as it contributes to poverty eradication, wealth creation, employment generation and greater economic welfare. In addition, investments crossing international state borders are essential for the advancement of economic and social integration all over the world.
The Islamic Organisation for Food Security (IOFS), which statute was adopted by OIC Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM) on 11 December 2013, works on the task of intra-OIC trade and investment relations in the agri-food sector. Accordingly, all the multilateral instruments would be applicable for the purposes of promoting trade and investment cooperation among its member states in the domain of agriculture, rural development and food security. Above all, active trade exchanges are expected to bridge the food total deficit is US$ 92 billion recorded in 2020, which have continued to deepen food and nutrition insecurity within the OIC region, particularly when the staggering figures on food waste and post-harvest losses are added thereto.
As we all know, the debilitating effects of the ongoing pandemic period, the issues of stable saturation of the market with food products are becoming especially acute and urgent. We must aim to unite our efforts and take concerted action in order not only to maintain the stable and uninterrupted functioning of the OIC member countries internal agri-food market but also to find new export possibilities and attracting FDI.
Investments in agri-food sector the lead to ensuring sustainable economic growth of the state as a whole. In this connection, investment support for agriculture is necessary both to support agricultural producers and for food security in OIC countries. Investing in agribusiness will improve food security by increasing their production, reducing losses and increasing income.
In this regard, IOFS actively start to work with state Investment Promotion Agencies (IPA) of OIC countries. For example, on September 2020, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between IOFS and KAZAKH INVEST, where special attention was paid to the optimal use of investment operations to support sustainable agricultural development with an emphasis on the agroindustry and agricultural technologies. Furthermore, according to the above MoU in January 2021 was signed Action plan with KAZAKH INVEST which is includes a list of bankable investment projects in the food sector. This model documents framework-regulating relations with all OIC IPAs.
Furthermore, General Assembly of IOFS established International IFPA as a 100% full subsidiary of IOFS in the jurisdiction of AIFC. IFPA will serve as a platform for all business-to-business engagements across the entire OIC agri-food markets. The Association will directly facilitate all intra-OIC agri-food trade between Member States across the entire food value-chain including business linkages in the field of food processing among food processors and related producers in the whole value chain and all relevant agri-food support institutions, as well as, identifying potential partnerships and investment opportunities in the field of food processing based on efficient mechanisms within OIC Member States.
In line with above mentioned very important topics, IOFS as a multilateral institution would encourage intra-OIC trade and investments in agri-food sector via G2G level and through International IFPA which is B2B arm of IOFS to strengthen food industry in OIC region. IFPA’s special focus would be on establishing and supporting food clusters in IOFS member countries via quasi-government entities as IPA’s and ECAs, as well as, with international associations such as WAIPA and Aman Union.
In this regard, IOFS plans on 18 August at 15:00 (Nur-Sultan time) to hold an online International Conference «Ways to Enhance Cross Border Agri-Food Investments and Trade in OIC Countries».
Main aim this international conference to enhance the intra-OIC investments and trade to build up value chains of domestic food processing, sales networks and develop food clusters, incl. basic agriculture and logistics.