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India funds key scheme for small Commonwealth states

The Commonwealth Small States Trade Finance Facility is expected to help small states to obtain easier access to international trade finance.

world Updated: Apr 18, 2018 10:58 IST
Prasun Sonwalkar
Prasun Sonwalkar
Hindustan Times, London
Commonwealth,Trade finance,India
A photo of the Indian tricolor flag with birds and sky in the background at the Delhi Town Hall, Chandni Chowk, Old Delhi, India, on Thursday, February 15, 2018. (Photo by Sonu Mehta/ Hindustan Times)(Sonu Mehta/HT File Photo)

India, Sri Lanka, Mauritius and Malta have provided $5 million of capital to the scheme, called the Commonwealth Small States Trade Finance Facility, an innovative way for small states to obtain easier access to international trade finance.

Standard Chartered Bank and the Bank of Baroda are the facility managers of the scheme which guarantees 10 per cent of any loans secured to develop trade and sustain economic and social development.

This guarantee is expected to release $100 million of incremental trade finance over a three-year period to any of the 31 Commonwealth nations classified as small states.

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Commonwealth secretary-general, Patricia Scotland, said, “This new scheme is an example of the innovative and collaborative approaches that are pioneered by the Commonwealth; they have a hugely positive impact on the lives and livelihoods of people in our smaller and more vulnerable member countries”.

“Without such a scheme, small states find it difficult to access the funds they need to diversify their economies and build inclusive prosperity by expanding trade. This impairs their ability to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.”

The trade finance facility was developed over five years by a working group including the International Finance Corporation, Government of Malta, Central Bank of Malta, Export Import Bank of India and the Commonwealth Secretariat.

India is the largest member state of the Commonwealth, with nearly 60% of the total population of the association. It is the fourth largest contributor to the Commonwealth budgets and programmes

First Published: Apr 18, 2018 10:57 IST