The International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC) and the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) are to support Institute Pasteur de Dakar (IPD) based in Senegal with medical equipment and biomedical research in the fight against COVID-19 across a network of laboratories in several Sub-Saharan African countries.

This intervention is facilitated through the IsDB Reverse Linkage Mechanism and under the Arab Africa Trade Bridges Program as part of the IsDB Group COVID-19 Strategic Preparedness and Response Program (3Rs). It will ensure IPD’s laboratories network across ten other African OIC member countries receive medical equipment and collaborate in their responses to COVID-19 through the sharing of knowledge and expertise. The ten countries are Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroun, Chad, Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, and Togo.

The Reverse Linkage mechanism is a technical cooperation to facilitate the transfer of knowledge and expertise, as well as sharing of best practices amongst partnering OIC member countries. Whilst the scheme was created to boost broad-based economic growth and the enrichment of value chains, it is a mechanism that can also serve to accelerate the diffusion of innovative and strategic approaches to fighting the COVID 19 pandemic. The scheme is helping to combat the effects of the virus in sub-Saharan African OIC member countries through capacity development, peer learning and knowledge sharing from knowledge centres across the continent such as the Institute Pasteur de Dakar.

Commenting on the ITFC’s partnership with the IPD, Eng. Hani Salem Sonbol, CEO of ITFC, said: “The mandate of the AATB Program is to support regional integration between African and Arab countries and to enhance SMEs export development in important sectors of the economies of these countries. During this pandemic, AATB is working to enhance the resilience of the health and agric-food sectors and its value chains in African member countries and create synergies between them in humanity’s fight against COVID-19.

The partnership with IPD follows the recent launch of an E-learning platform by the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) and ITFC in coordination with the Moroccan Society of Anaesthesia, Analgesia, and Resuscitation (SMAAR), which aims to facilitate medical-related knowledge sharing between African member countries.”

The collaboration reflects the IsDB Group’s strategy of developing rapid-response activities and programs to address the fallout from the ongoing pandemic while taking into consideration some of the lessons learnt in dealing with previous crisis. The IsDB Group entities including ITFC are looking into how new initiatives can be developed quickly in order to strengthen the abilities and capacities of the member countries to respond to the pandemic.

As a key contributor to the initiative, the AATB is leveraging its mandate to enhance intra-regional trade between the Arab and Africa regions by facilitating a region-wide advancement in biomedical research. This will serve not only to help the current fight against the pandemic by speeding up treatment solutions but also enhance the resilience of the health sector in Africa. The sharing of expertise and experiences is a key tactical component in the AATB’s work to build trade within and between the two regions.

The Institute Pasteur de Dakar is a biomedical research centre in Senegal and its influence extends to West Africa and beyond. In keeping with its mission to protect and promote public health, the IPD excels in a variety of health-related sectors, including research and immunization, training and capacity building, and strategic direction.

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