IOFS Engages in WTO Aid for Trade Panel on “Development of Commodity Trade and Food Security in Africa”

Country: Switzerland
IOFS  Engages in WTO Aid for Trade Panel on “Development of Commodity Trade and Food Security in Africa”
27 June 2024

Geneva, Switzerland - June 27, 2024 — At the instruction of the Director General of the Islamic Organization for Food Security Amb. Berik Aryn, Director of the Programs and Projects Department, Prof. Dr. Zulfiqar Ali participated in a high-profile panel discussion focused on enhancing food security through improved commodity trade in Africa. The panel was held as part of the WTO Aid for Trade Global Review 2024, taking place at the World Trade Organization (WTO) headquarters in Geneva.

Organized under the theme “Development of Commodity Trade and Food Security in Africa,” the panel aimed to explore avenues for enhancing agricultural and agro-food production in Africa. It sought to identify strategies for leveraging technical and financial support to strengthen infrastructure and create conducive regulatory frameworks for trade and investment in the region. The panel was moderated by Mrs. Latifa El Bouabdellaoui, Director General of the Islamic Center for Development of Trade (ICDT).

The panelists included:
- Ambassador Omar Zniber, Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of Morocco to the United Nations Office in Geneva
- Diwakar Dixit, Advisor Secretary of the Agriculture Committee, Agriculture and Commodities Division (WTO)
- Dr. Ahmad Mukhtar, Representative of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)
- Prof. Dr. Zulfiqar Ali, Director of Programs and Projects Department, IOFS Secretariat

During his intervention, Prof. Dr. Zulfiqar Ali highlighted the efforts of IOFS in addressing food security challenges across Africa. He emphasized the strategic focus of the Organization on promoting agricultural development and rural resilience within the Organization of Islamic Cooperation ( OIC ) Member States, particularly those in Africa. Prof. Dr. Zulfiqar Ali outlined IOFS’s initiatives under the Africa Food Security Initiative (AFSI), which was declared during the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers in 2023.

He also underscored IOFS’s commitment to leveraging the WTO Aid for Trade framework to support food security initiatives in Sub-Saharan Africa. He outlined IOFS’s "National Food Sector Development" program, aimed at enhancing trade capabilities among OIC member states through knowledge transfer, capacity building, and the establishment of trade-friendly policies.

The Islamic Organization for Food Security remains committed to fostering collaboration and implementing strategic initiatives to ensure sustainable food security and agricultural development across Africa. By leveraging frameworks like the WTO Aid for Trade and through programs such as the Africa Food Security Initiative, IOFS aims to create a resilient and self-sufficient agricultural sector in OIC Member States.