A partnership with academia

Building knowledge for trade and development

Vi Quarterly Newsletter

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Issue #46 - September 2015 - Welcome to the Vi quarterly newsletter
>_NEWS  
 
 

Two new members for the Virtual Institute
Universities from the Philippines and Georgia joined UNCTAD's programme for academic cooperation in July. Vi institutional membership stands at 119 members from 59 countries.

University of Asia and the Pacific

Joining July 2 was the Philippines' University of Asia and the Pacific (UA&P), the second university to represent the country in the Vi network.

The university offers Bachelor's programmes in Economics, Industrial Economics, and Political Economy, as well as Master's programmes in Industrial Economics, Political Economy, Strategic Business Economics, Applied Business Economics, and Law.

UA&P's three research journals cover industry performance, prospects and competition, as well as forecasts on the Philippine economy and macroeconomic indicators such as exports, interest rates, exchange rates, and price indices.

The Vi cooperation will be coordinated by George Manzano, Vice-Dean of the School of Economics. He holds a PhD in Economics and teaches courses on International Economics. His recent research relates to the non-agricultural sector in prospective free trade agreements by the Philippines and Asia, and to the determinants of export intensity and propensity of Filipino Small and Medium Enterprises.

University of Georgia

Joining July 24 was the University of Georgia (UG), the Vi's 57th core member.

UG's School of Law offers Bachelor's, Master's and PhD programmes, and plans to launch an English-language Master’s programme in International Business Law (IBL) with new courses on International Trade Law, WTO Law, International Banking Law, International Investment Law, Intellectual Property Law, International Commercial Arbitration, International Business Transactions, among others. 

In the area of research, UG publishes its own journal, titled "Caucasus Journal of Social Sciences." A large part of the journal is dedicated to articles related to economics and business, and international relations.

Vi coordinator, Timothy Barrett, holder of a Doctor of Laws, is Assistant Professor at the School of Law. He teaches courses on WTO law, international business law and legal English, and coordinates the development of the IBL programme. His recent research revolves around trade facilitation in the WTO, and international banking regulations.

 

UNCTAD Virtual Institute e-learning

 

Latest Vi online course graduates 58
The second edition of the Vi online course on non-tariff measures (NTMs) and data collection, held June 1 to July 19, prepared 58 academics and trade practitioners from 39 countries to identify, classify and collect information about national NTMs. Developed in cooperation with the Trade Information Section of UNCTAD's Division on International Trade in Goods and Services and Commodities, the training aims to contribute to the international effort to improve access, and increase transparency with regard to these measures.

All participants said that their understanding of NTMs has increased as a result of the course, and 96 percent stated that the course helped them better understand policy issues faced by their countries in international trade. They also came away with ideas for applying their new skills in their teaching, research and work with governmental agencies.

"This course helped me enormously to enhance my knowledge on NTMs, and I became very enthusiastic to do some new research on this," said Khaleda Akhter, of Vi think tank member, the Centre for Policy Dialogue in Bangladesh.

"At the ministry, I will use the course knowledge for analysis of trade negotiations and also for analysis of possible opportunities for international cooperation," added Ryan Cobey, of Ecuador’s Ministry of International Trade. Also a lecturer at University of the Americas, he planned to use his new skills in the implementation of a module on NTMs in his economy of international relations class and in writing a possible paper on the impact of NTMs on trade relations of Ecuador. 

"So far I have never tackled the issue of NTMs in such detail. Now I can give a series of lectures or classes on this issue to any level of university students," said Uzbek lecturer, Bobomurod Muminov, currently teaching at Hungary’s Central European University. "Besides, the skills I have gained during the course in relation to detection and application of NTMs in practice will facilitate my research activities."

 
UNCTAD Virtual Institute e-learning

Government of Finland

71 admitted to third edition of Vi online course on trade and poverty
Seventy-one academics from 37 countries were selected out of a pool of 157 applications for the third edition of the Vi online course on trade and poverty, scheduled for September 14 to November 29. Scholarships for all participants were granted through funding from the Government of Finland.

"The selection committee was faced with a very difficult task, but we are trying to raise funds for further editions of this course," said Vi Chief, Vlasta Macku.

Developed in 2013 to support the Vi project on trade and poverty, the course has so far trained over 100 academics from more than 50 countries, and generated 12 policy-oriented research papers, eight of which were compiled in the Vi publication, "Trade policies, household welfare and poverty alleviation."

The objective of the course is to provide participants with the empirical tools needed to assess the impact of trade and trade-related policies on poverty and income distribution. Part of the Vi’s broader effort to strengthen research capacities in participants' countries, the course aims to support governments in the design of pro-poor trade policies conducive to the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals and their successor Sustainable Development Goals.

 

 

 

UNCTAD's latest WIR focus of Vi videoconferences attracts 300+ 
The Vi organized videoconference presentations of the 2015 World Investment Report (WIR) for members in Brazil and Colombia this quarter.

In addition to reviewing global and regional foreign direct investment trends, UNCTAD experts, Astrit Sulstarova and Noelia Garcia Nebra, discussed this year's special topics: international tax and investment policy.

Virtual Institute Chief, Vlasta Macku (left) and UNCTAD's Astrit Sulstarova

In 2014, foreign direct investment (FDI) flows fell by 16 percent worldwide, Sulstarova told researchers of Vi affiliate member, the Institute for Applied Economic Research (IPEA), during the videoconference held August 26.

However, "there is a trend of increasing FDI inflows to developing economies, which now receive 55 percent  of all global FDI inflows," he said. Another remarkable trend in 2014 was the increase in outward investment from the South, with 36 percent of all outflows, he added.

Virtual Institute Chief, Vlasta Macku (left) and UNCTAD's Noelia Garcia Nebra

"In Latin America, flows decreased by 14 percent after four years of consecutive increases," Garcia Nebra told an audience of nearly 300 in Colombia, during the videoconference for core university member, Universidad EAFIT, held September 29. "This decrease was the consequence of a decline in M&As in Central America and the Caribbean, and of lower commodity prices, which reduced investment in the extractive industries in South America."

Despite the slowdown in FDI, Brazil, Mexico, Chile and Colombia made it to the list of top 20 FDI recipients in the world, the WIR reports.

UNCTAD’s FDI forecast model projects global FDI inflows to grow from USD 1.2 trillion in 2014 to USD 1.7 trillion in 2017, Sulstarova and Garcia Nebra said. But although a survey of large multinationals top executives supports these figures, "risks looming over the global economy may darken the outlook for FDI," Nebra warned.

 

UNCTAD Virtual Institute e-learning

Government of Finland

Scholarships available: Second edition of Vi online course on trade and gender - Deadline: November 15
Academics, policymakers and representatives of civil society in developing and transition countries involved in research, teaching, policy formulation and implementation, or field work in the area of trade and gender, are invited to apply for participation in the second edition of the Vi online course on trade and gender.
Funded by the Government of Finland, the course is based on Volume 1 of the Vi teaching material on trade and gender. The seven-week course, scheduled January 4 to February 21, 2016, particularly encourages applications from qualified women.
Candidates must hold a Master's degree in Economics, Law, Political Science or related area, and have excellent knowledge of English.

Top course graduates will become part of the UNCTAD trade and gender consultancy roster, and may be considered for future assignments in this area and/or participation in intergovernmental meetings on trade and gender organized by UNCTAD. 

Candidates must complete the online application process, as well as submit a current CV and nomination letter from their institution by November 15.

 

 

Vi member hosts IER launch
Igor Velickovski, of Vi core member, the University American College Skopje in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), organized a presentation of UNCTAD's latest Information Economy Report during the Eighth Conference on Payment and Securities Settlement Systems, held May 10-13 in Ohrid.

The presentation, entitled "Unlocking the Potential of E-commerce for Developing Countries," was delivered by Torbjörn Fredriksson, of UNCTAD's Division on Technology and Logistics, to an audience of approximately 100 participants from the banking, financial and government sectors.

Fredriksson examined the opportunities and challenges for companies in developing countries that want to engage in e-commerce. After an overview of recent trends in the development of e-commerce globally, he discussed opportunities and barriers for the development of e-commerce in rural area and low-income countries, and reviewed assessment methods to determine countries' readiness to engage in e-commerce. The presentation included an in-depth analysis of the magnitude of e-commerce activities, including consumer usage, in the FYROM.

   
Follow the Vi on Facebook

Find the Virtual Insitute on LinkedIn

Like the Vi? Follow us!
Thanks to our fabulous intern, Farah Jerrari, the Vi launched its social media presence on LinkedIn and Facebook in September.

The pages include the latest articles from our website, as well as upcoming events and academic offers available to our members.

Don't miss out on scholarships, course discounts and publishing opportunities. Follow us now (and don't forget to share with all your friends and colleagues!)

 

>_TEACHING RESOURCES 
 
A practical guide to trade policy analysis

Cameroonian adaptation of Vi/WTO teaching material now online
Manfred Kouty, of Vi Cameroonian member, Université de Yaoundé II, has developed an adaptation of the generic Vi teaching material on trade and trade policy analysis which places trade in the context of national development strategy aimed at sustainable development and employment generation.

The first chapter reviews the various stages of the country's trade policy, and outlines its potential future evolution. The second chapter analyzes trade performance through standard indicators measuring trade openness, market access, terms of trade, real exchange rate and the cost of transport. Kouty then examines the sectoral composition of Cameroonian exports, the country's revealed comparative advantage, export concentration and diversification, as well as the geographical orientation of its exports. Chapter 4 is dedicated to the analysis of intra-regional trade with the Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa (CEMAC) using indicators of intensity and complementarity. Given the importance of enterprises for the development of trade, the fifth chapter looks into the characteristics and performance of export-oriented enterprises in Cameroon. To incorporate additional economic, socio-cultural and geographic factors into the analysis, the final chapter uses the gravity model to analyze the determinants of the country's trade. The material includes questions for discussion and exercises.

The material will be used as a reader for a course in international trade for students of international economics at Kouty's university.

 
Vi multimedia teaching resources

New Vi bilingual multimedia teaching resources on UNCTAD's 2015 editions of IER and WIR
In the latest Vi multimedia teaching resources, available in English and Spanish, UNCTAD experts present the findings of this year's Information Economy Report (IER) and World Investment Report (WIR).

The IER presentations, conducted by Scarlett Fondeur Gil and Torbjörn Fredriksson, of UNCTAD's Division on Technology and Logistics, focus on the potential benefits of e-commerce for developing countries. After an overview of trends in the Business to Business (B2B) and Business to Consumer (B2C) sectors, the experts present policy recommendations, and address the importance of implementing and enforcing effective cyber laws and security to build consumer trust in the Internet and e-business. 

The WIR presentations, led by Astrit Sulstarova and Noelia Garcia Nebra, of UNCTAD's Division on Investment and Enterprise, review the 2014 global trends in foreign direct investment (FDI) and highlight the positive outcomes for developing countries, which now account for 55 percent of all FDI inflows. The presentations also address the reform of the international investment regime and include essential recommendations to both strengthen and regulate investment.

 
Virtual Institute

Vi trade and gender workshop materials now online
Presentations from the Vi regional workshop on trade and gender analysis held in South Africa June 15-19 are now available.

Developed by workshop tutors, Elizabeth Jane Casabianca and David Zavaleta, the presentations are based on Volume 2 of the Vi's latest teaching material, which focuses on methodologies and data for quantitative analysis of the link between trade and gender.

 
>_PUBLICATIONS  
 

Tanzanian researcher develops case study based on Vi trade and poverty publication
The case study on the welfare effect of export bans in Tanzania written by Mesia Ilomo, of Vi core member, the University of Dar es Salaam Business School, is the 12th generated by the Vi project on trade and poverty concluded in 2014.

Funded by the One UN Fund for Tanzania, Ilomo's study finds that the level of price transmission (from international to domestic prices) is higher in regions bordering the East African Community (EAC), and that the export ban is associated with an increase in price in most EAC border regions and a decrease in price in most peripheral regions.

In terms of the consumer welfare effect of the ban, his analysis indicates that at the national level, the ban led to a household welfare loss of approximately 1.5 percent, with female-headed households suffering more than male-headed households. At the regional level, consumers in most of the EAC border regions lost from the export ban, while those in most peripheral regions experienced a welfare gain, which can be partly explained by the fragmentation of domestic markets.

Findings in this paper contribute to the debate about the appropriateness of non-tariff measures in trade policy, and provide additional insights, particularly regarding the heterogeneous effects of policy measures, which might encourage targeted interventions that are location-specific.

 
Economic Development in Africa Report 2015 - Unlocking the Potential of Africa´s Services Trade for Growth and Development

Economic Development in Africa Report 2015 - Unlocking the Potential of Africa´s Services Trade for Growth and Development
The services sector holds a dominant position in many African economies. It is a critical source of income and employment and, in recent years, has become a driver of growth in the continent. However, its performance remains suboptimal and its costs are high, due to regulatory and policy shortcomings.

This year's edition of the Economic Development in Africa report (EDAR), titled "Unlocking the Potential of Africa´s Services Trade for Growth and Development," examines major policy issues and provides specific and actionable recommendations on how services could contribute to inclusive growth, employment and development, given their enabling role and their capacity to link with other sectors.

The report stresses that regulation and policies for infrastructure services need to better target existing market failures and address structural impediments to improve performance in the sector. It also highlights the need for greater policy coherence at the national, regional and international levels to better link trade policy and the services sector.

 
Technology in Action: Good Practices in Science, Technology and Innovation Policies for Women in South Asia

Technology in Action: Good Practices in Science, Technology and Innovation Policies for Women in South Asia
The first in a new UNCTAD series, this report examines the impact of Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) policies and initiatives on women in South Asia, highlighting existing commonalities across countries in relation to gender equality, as well as persisting differences across and within countries.

After a comprehensive analysis of literature on programmes and policies on gender from nine countries, the report discusses the nature of gender disparities in South Asia, and presents a compilation of STI policies and initiatives implemented in the region to improve the situation of women.

The experiences presented show that STI policies usually contribute to improving the livelihoods of women and enhancing gender equality, but that it is not enough to introduce new technologies and expect women to adopt them. Training programmes designed for the needs of women are necessary to familiarize them with technologies and to facilitate their interest and participation.

   
Who Is Benefiting From Trade Liberalization In Uruguay? A Gender Perspective

Who Is Benefiting From Trade Liberalization In Uruguay? A Gender Perspective
Part of an UNCTAD series on trade and gender, this study examines how trade liberalization and related shifts in the productive structure in Uruguay have affected women’s access to employment.

In the past decades, Uruguay has moved from the import-substitution regime to an outward-oriented development strategy that prioritizes the market as the resource allocation mechanism, and exports as the engine of growth. During this process, the main structural transformation observed was a de-industrialization process followed by specialization in primary goods and expansion in the services sector.

In order to assess the impact of this trade liberalization and employment redistribution on the female workforce, this report analyzes trade performance and employment composition in the country by sector in the past three decades. The agricultural sector, where most of the benefits from enhanced trade openness should be visible, employs a small percentage of female workers, and the growth of the services sector has not sufficiently increased women’s access to more qualified and better paid jobs. And, although the gender wage gap in most sectors has declined over time, the report finds that changes in trade policy have not been particularly favorable to women.

The report concludes that trade-led economic and employment growth is not sufficient in itself to overcome gender gaps, and presents a set of policy recommendations geared toward reducing women’s segmentation in particular sectors of the economy, and increase their access to qualified positions in the services sector.

   
Can Green Growth Really Work and what are the True (Socio-) Economics of Climate Change?

Can Green Growth Really Work and what are the True (Socio-) Economics of Climate Change?
Many economists and policymakers advocate a fundamental shift towards "green growth" as a new growth paradigm, largely based on renewable forms of energy, resource efficiency and structural changes towards a service-dominated economy. The author of this paper, Ulrich Hoffmann, however, argues that although "green growth" may work well in creating new growth impulses with reduced environmental load, it is unlikely that it could also mitigate climate change at the required scale and pace. His data analysis shows that the climate is changing much faster than the international efforts to address it.

According to Hoffmann, one of the problems with the believing that "green growth" would be efficient to cope with the complexities of climate change is that most authors have ignored the so-called "rebound effect" -- which reflects the causality between efficiency increases and additional demand. Enhanced energy (and related material and resources) efficiency and ample availability of cheap renewable energy is likely to increase -- instead of decrease -- consumption, as lower costs and prices enable the spending of saved consumer money, he says.

The paper concludes that the required de-carbonization of the economy will only be achievable if current consumption patterns, methods and lifestyles profoundly change.

 
>_LINKS  
   
International Trade Centre

New ITC website on non-tariff measures - http://ntmsurvey.intracen.org/home
The International Trade Centre (ITC) has launched a website featuring the results of its business surveys on non-tariff measures (NTMs) -- 14,000 interviews conducted by ITC with companies in 23 countries. Data from additional countries is being incorporated as it becomes available.

The information is broken down by company size and sector and the origin of the NTMs (whether they are related to the companies' own country or the country of their trading partner), and is presented in user-friendly charts. The site also contains a range of support materials, including e-learning courses and publications, as well as country reports.

The survey methodology and findings for the 23 first countries are summarized in the publication, "The Invisible Barriers to Trade: How Businesses Experience Non-Tariff Measures." Up to half of the firms surveyed reported being affected by NTMs, with smaller companies, especially in the agro-sector, experiencing the greatest difficulties. Evidence suggests that the trade impact of NTMs is inversely related to the development level of exporting countries. 

 
>_UPCOMING EVENTS
 
Vi e-learning

Government of Finland

Scholarships available: Second edition of Vi online course on trade and gender - Deadline: November 15
Academics, policymakers and representatives of civil society in developing and transition countries involved in research, teaching, policy formulation and implementation, or field work in the area of trade and gender, are invited to apply for admission to the second edition of the Vi online course on trade and gender.

Funded by the Government of Finland, the course is based on Volume 1 of the Vi teaching material on trade and gender. The seven-week course, scheduled for January 4 to February 21, 2016, particularly encourages applications from qualified women.

Candidates must hold a Master's degree in Economics, Law, Political Science or related area, and have excellent knowledge of English.

Top course graduates will become part of the UNCTAD trade and gender consultancy roster, and may be considered for future assignments in this area and/or participation in intergovernmental meetings on trade and gender organized by UNCTAD. 

Candidates must complete the online application process, as well as submit a current CV and nomination letter from their institution, by November 15.

 
UNCTAD Virtual Institute

Vi national workshop for Nepal: Places available
The Vi capacity building project for the least developed countries and sub-Saharan Africa, funded by the Government of Finland, will deliver a workshop on the use of remittances and diasporas for development at core Nepalese Vi member, the Mid-Western University (MWU), November 2-4.

Delivered by Rolf Traeger, lead author of UNCTAD's Least Developed Countries Report, the workshop will look at the benefits countries can derive from remittances as a new source of financing for development, and from using diasporas to help foster trade, investment and technology transfer with their countries of origin. The training will also analyze potential adverse effects of emigration, such as brain drain and weaker institution-building in the countries of origin. After a review of past and current trends of migration, the workshop will discuss the policy options and institutions which developing countries can adopt or establish in order to optimize the potential of remittances and diasporas for national development.

MWU has generously agreed to offer up to 10 places to other interested participants from academia, government, or civil society in the country. No funding is available, participants must cover their own costs. To apply, contact Kabita Devkota, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 
>_ACADEMIC OPPORTUNITIES
 
Call for articles: Ad-minister

Call for articles: Colombian member business journal
AD-minister (ISSN 1692-0279 E-ISSN 2256-4322), a biannual publication of Universidad EAFIT's Business School, invites members to submit manuscripts in Spanish or English for its July-December 2015 issue.

The journal covers topics related to emerging markets, management, international business, human resources, people at work, accounting, marketing, auditing, CSR, innovation, multilatinas, knowledge management, strategy, inclusive markets and entrepreneurship.

Manuscripts must adhere to the Author GuidelinesAuthors should register with the journal prior to submitting or, if already registered, log in to complete the five-step submission process.

   
Graduate Institute Geneva

Global South Doctoral Workshop - Deadline December 1
Vi Swiss affiliate member, the Graduate Institute Geneva, invites doctoral students from universities in southern developing countries to apply for participation in a one-week programme to discuss their theses with professors and PhD students from the Institute and co-organizer, Peking University, May 2-6, 2016 in Beijing.

The programme, to be held in English, aims to develop intellectual exchanges and networking between young scholars from the South. Selected participants will be reimbursed return fares and be provided accommodation during the workshop.

Applications are also being accepted for the Winter Programme on the United Nations and Global Challenges to be held January 4-15, 2016. Participants may earn up to six European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS)  credits.

The programme will focus on the core mission of the UN and develop critical analyses of future challenges in international relations. For more information, contactThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

   
Universidad de la Sabana

Visiting professors for international summer school in Colombia - Deadline: November 6
Vi affiliate member, Universidad de la Sabana, invites Vi members to apply for visiting professorships for its 2016 summer school programme, to be held in Bogota June 6-24 2016.

The series of short courses is aimed at undergraduate students, lecturers and professionals with an interest in topics such as logistics, marketing, sustainability, international business and commerce, creativity and culinary arts.

Selected candidates will receive assistance with obtaining a visa/work permit, as well as air fare, accommodation and meals, ground transportation and international health insurance. To apply, send an application letter, CV and course syllabus by November 6 to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

   
International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD)

Writing competition for students - Deadline: October 31
Vi partner, the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD), is looking for students with an interest in trade and sustainable development policy issues to participate in its first Bridges Writing Competition. Disseminated regularly to policymakers and influencers, Bridges is a resource for news and analysis on trade and sustainable development.

Winning' articles will be published in Bridges (in six languages). Authors could win a trip to Nairobi, Kenya, during the Trade and Development Symposium (14-17 December) organized in cooperation with Vi core member, the University of Nairobi and the Government of Kenya. Cash prizes of USD 2000 will also be awarded.

Articles must be submitted online by October 31. For more information, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 
>_PEOPLE  
 
Mesia Ilomo (left) and Deusdedit Rwehumbiza, of the University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

New member coordinator for Tanzania
Deusdedit Rwehumbiza (pictured, right) has taken over the coordination of Vi activities at Tanzanian core member, the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM) Business School. He holds a PhD from Germany's University of Leipzig and a Master's in International Trade from UDSM.

We are grateful to former coordinator, Mesia Ilomo, for his excellent collaboration, and wish him much success as he pursues his PhD studies.

 
>_FEEDBACK  
 
The Virtual Institute welcomes any feedback, both positive and critical, about the Vi Newsletter. Is it clear? Are the links helpful? Do they work? Equally, if there is any aspect of UNCTAD's work that you would like to see reported in the newsletter, please make suggestions and we will try to cover it. We would also welcome any news items from members about their current or planned activities. Send all comments and document requests to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Previous issues are available online.

 

ALSO, if you haven't already, please have a look at our website and familiarize yourself with its structure and content.

 

 
The UNCTAD Virtual Institute on Trade and Development is a capacity-building and networking programme aiming to strengthen the capacities of academic institutions in developing countries and countries with economies in transition to teach and research trade issues, and to foster links between research and policymaking.

 

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