Given ITFC’s mandate of advancing trade to improve the economic situation and livelihoods of people across the Islamic world, developing trade in Sub-Saharan Africa would be a primary objective of the institution.
Given our corporate strategy, strengths and resources, our strategic intent for SSA is “To be the recognized provider of Trade finance solutions in the Region.” This will be achieved by focusing on the following six strategic pillars:
Grow relationships to drive trade solution sales
Focusing on growing our existing & potential customer relationships both in the Public, and Private sector segments of OIC member countries should be a priority and the first pillar of our strategy for SSA region. For this pillar, our strategy will focus on driving trade solution sales by solidifying our relationships with existing customers while also attracting and building relationships with new customers. We intend to strengthen our position and grow our business with existing customers while exerting efforts to expand the client base and reach out to more member countries. Our regional presence will be instrumental for achieving this pillar as we intend to bolster our close proximity to clients as an important approach to building a strong customer base and a balanced business portfolio.
Special focus will be given to supporting strategic sectors such as the Energy sector as well the Agriculture sector with particular attention to the following key export commodities:
We intend to drive trade solution sales (grow business volume) through customers calls (both from HQ as well as regional presence), relationship management, and targeted sales and marketing missions. Also, we will use improved collaboration with other ITFC departments such as Risk, Treasury and Operations to efficiently and successfully originate and close deals. As part of our marketing process we should:
- Focus on consolidating and growing our relationship with existing member country sovereign clients to provide trade finance support to sectors with strategic importance for the countries.
- Make targeted efforts to reach more member countries and break into new markets to expand the client base and diversify the portfolio.
- Deliver customized solutions to clients in the private sector employing Structured Trade Finance (STF) and other well-secured structures (our aim will be to raise the overall proportion of private sector business in the portfolio while maintaining portfolio quality).
- Penetrate new Markets in some of the non-member countries (Particularly the East African market), in collaboration with other partners and by using EFS.
- Repel competitor price war via our customer focus and value addition initiatives – by being close to our target markets with excellent relationship management, making monthly calls on customers and prospects in the region.
Enhance utilization for impact and income
Improving utilization of approved operations will be another priority area for the team, with the aim to target raising the utilization rate to 70% or higher. Enhanced utilization will lead to better income for ITFC as well as higher developmental impact contributing to the betterment of the livelihood for people in our member countries, a key mandate for ITFC. We intend to achieve this though:
- Better deal structuring (targeting deals with higher potential for utilization)
- Improving quality at entry and better explanation of our products to potential clients to ensure full understanding on both sides. This clarifies expectations, leading to faster deal implementation and improved utilization
- Using our regional presence to closely work with the key decision makers of our clients to facilitate prompt collection of required information/documents, hence enabling timely deal implementation
- Streamlined internal processes to help improve overall utilization
Build Partnership with Regional and Local Banks
Partnering with regional and local financial institutions is critical for penetrating the market and achieving a balanced growth. By building Partnerships with Regional & Local Banks such as Eastern and Southern Africa Trade and Development Bank (PTA Bank ), Ecobank, AFREXIM Bank and other Regional Financial Institutions, we can boost our financing to the SMEs, which is an important sector for job creation and economic development.
Partnering with local financial institutions is an effective way to reach and serve the SME sector. Furthermore, it is a good risk mitigation tool as local banks are more knowledgeable about the peculiarities of their local market. By providing Two-Step Murabaha Financing and Lines of Finance to local banks, ITFC will play a catalyst role in helping SMEs and small businesses in the private sector gain access to finance, which is acutely needed in some markets.
As part of our strategy, we plan to undertake targeted marketing campaigns to add new banks to our portfolio. However, this is largely dependent on having a viable and efficient limit setting mechanism in place in order to support the overall ITFC FI business as well as achieve the SSA team’s desired business targets.