A partnership with academia

Building knowledge for trade and development


Morocco's Université Mohammed V - Souissi (UM5S), a WTO Chair holder and host of the upcoming UNCTAD Course on Key Issues on the International Economic Agenda, has joined the Vi network today, bringing the number of countries represented in the Vi network to 40. UM5S is the third Vi member from an Arab country (along with Egypt and Jordan) and the fifth from French-speaking Africa.

"It was in the context of the WTO Chairs conference last year that we started discussions about their possible Vi membership, as 10 out of the 15 WTO Chair holders were at the same time Vi members," explained Vi Chief, Vlasta Macku.

The Vi's main counterpart at the University will be the Faculty of Law, Economics and Social Sciences, which encompasses economics, management, public and private law, and social sciences. The combination of these specializations under "one roof" constitutes a distinct advantage for both the teaching programmes and research offered by the Faculty as it allows for a multi-disciplinary approach.

After hosting the WTO regional trade policy courses for several years, UM5S launched a Master's programme in international trade and the WTO. The Faculty also offers Master's programmes in entrepreneurship and international development, and in environment and sustainable development. Through its centre of doctoral studies, it also provides PhD programmes, including in international trade. PhD candidates are heavily involved in the research work of the Faculty.

Research at the Faculty is undertaken in the framework of 16 research centres, laboratories or teams. Those concerned with trade and development topics cover competitiveness, quantitative methods for social sciences, law and international migration, trade policy and international trade of Morocco, and environment and sustainable development.

Azzedine Ghoufrane, vice-dean of the faculty for academic and pedagogical affairs and the leader of the WTO Chair team, will coordinate the cooperation with the Vi. He holds a PhD in public law and specializes in international economic law and WTO law. He will be supported by a multi-disciplinary team consisting of seven of his colleagues: Amal Maaninou (PhD in economics; working on enterprise competitiveness and transnational strategies of enterprises), Said Toufiq (PhD in economics; interested in international trade theory, econometrics applied to trade, and FDI), Ahmed El Hajjami (PhD in private law; specialized in international trade law and business law), Nabil Boubrahimi (PhD in economics; focusing on transport law, trade logistics, enterprise competitiveness, and FTAs), Saïd Radi (PhD in management; working on enterprise creation and competitiveness), Nacer Outtaj (PhD in information technologies) and Said Dkhissi (PhD in economics; interested in globalization and development, and integration of Morocco into the global economy).

The University is ready to share its experience with teaching and researching international trade, investment and development issues, building on its experience and expertise acquired through the work on the WTO regional course and the WTO Chairs programme. It is also willing to share the distance learning experience of its e-learning centre. It is as well open to the organization of joint activities (conferences, seminars or workshops), in particular in relation to the Maghreb countries and sub-Saharan Africa.

Through its participation in the Virtual Institute, the University hopes to further strengthen its teaching and research capacity in the area of trade, investment and development, get access to data and teaching resources tailored to the needs of developing countries, and develop cooperation with other Vi members.