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Building knowledge for trade and development

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Vi e-learningThe 57 graduates of the first edition of the Vi online course on Economic Analysis of Non-Tariff Measures (NTMs) raved about their learning experience. Funded by the Government of Finland, the One UN Fund for Tanzania and the Russian Federation for the Transparency in Trade Initiative, the course was held October 10 to December 4.

“As always, the UNCTAD Vi has done it again wonderfully,” said Nicodemas Lema, of Vi core Tanzanian member, University of Dar es Salaam. “The knowledge and the materials presented were world-class.”

“I have enrolled and completed a number of Vi courses and the standard, as well as delivery  on the online platform keep improving each time,” said Verena Tandrayen-Ragoobur, of Vi core member, University of Mauritius. “The course is better designed and delivered than courses I have taken from other institutions,” added Ricardo Arguello, of Vi Colombian affiliate member, Universidad del Rosario.

The graduates, representing 44 countries, unanimously agreed that the course has enhanced their knowledge of data sources, tools, methods and policy-relevant research questions on NTMs. They also cited specific examples on how they will apply what they learned in their work.

“For a researcher like me, this kind of training opportunity is very vital to my career world, especially in providing policy guidance to my region on regional integration matters,” said Khutsafalo Sekolokwane, of the South African Customs Union.

“The course has enhanced my understanding of the relevance of using NTMs for shaping policies on trade and development,” said Emmanuel Orkoh, of Vi core Ghanaian member, University of Cape Coast. “I now understand how I can use the research output on NTMs to influence trade policy of the government of my country.”

Like Orkoh and Sekolokwane, many other researchers at government and academic institutions cited specific projects for the future. Elwalied Ahmed, of the Islamic University of Madinah, plans to investigate the impact of NTMs in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Cooperation Council. Aadil Nakhoda, of Vi core Pakistani member, the Institute of Business Administration, intends to conduct a micro-level study on the impact of NTMs on exporting and importing activities.

In addition, professors from Brazil, Burkina Faso, Chad, Ecuador, Pakistan and the Philippines, among others, mentioned their intention of using the content of the course to enrich their classes. Yuliya Vashkevich, of Vi core member, Belarus State Economic University, said she will include the material in the Master’s course on international trade theory and policy. Anil Kuruvila, of India’s Kerala Agricultural University will conduct a training program for professors and scientists in agricultural economics in agricultural universities and the Indian Council for Agricultural Research.

“I feel better prepared to teach my students about the tools and methods used in the econometric analysis of the impact of non-tariff measures,” said Thapye Nyo, of Myanmar’s Meiktila Institute of Economics. “I will be able to teach students and other lecturers in educational institutions in my country, Sierra Leone, and Africa in general, which will help build a better human resource capacity to meet the demands of the market,” added Allieu Badara Kabia, currently a research fellow at China’s Liaoning University.

Course participants gave high marks to the course design and pedagogical elements, as well as the excellent support from course tutor, Marco Fugazza, of UNCTAD’s Division on International Trade in Goods and Services, and Commodities.

“I found the multimedia lectures, empirical lectures and empirical economic papers to be most useful for understanding the contents in each module, but I am most grateful for the prompt and informative answers that the tutor was able to provide,” said Ana Maria del Carmen Vera Ganoza, of Peru’s Ministry of Foreign Trade and Tourism.

“The mode of delivery made it seem like all participants were under the same roof, but allowed individuals to learn at their own pace,” affirmed Nkareng Letsie, of the Policy Analysis & Research Institute of Lesotho.

Plans are already underway to offer another edition of the course next year. 

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