|Issue #48 - March 2016 - Welcome to the Vi quarterly newsletter|
Three universities join the Virtual Institute
| Kicking off the new year was Pakistan's Institute of Business Administration (IBA), whose membership was spearheaded by IBA'sAadil Nakhoda, a graduate of the Vi online courses on non-tariff measures and on trade and poverty.|
Established in 1955, the institute offers Bachelor's, Master's and PhD programmes in the area of economics, as well as an MBA and a post-graduate diploma in supply chain management. IBA's Centre of Business and Economics Research provides research grants, publishes the IBA Working Paper Series, and organizes seminars, conferences and research collaborations with educational and governmental institutions. Research areas include international trade and development economics, particularly gender issues, regional trade integration, poverty alleviation in urban areas, and the impact of climate change.
Associate Professor, Nakhoda, will serve as Vi member coordinator. Holder of a PhD in international economics, he teaches international trade and development economics. His research focuses on financial markets in developing countries, the impact of exports of BRICS countries and Turkey on the exports of Pakistan, as well as bank competition and export diversification. Khadija Bari, Chairperson of the Department of Economics and Finance, will also be involved in the cooperation with the Vi.
| Joining February 10 was Senegal's Institut Universitaire de l'Entreprise et du Développement (ED).|
ED's academic offer includes undergraduate and graduate programmes in trade policy, export strategy and economic diplomacy, and econometrics and applied statistics. Its main research areas are trade policy formulation, regional economic integration, common currency and the development of trade relations, and non-tariff measures and their impact on trade.
Vi member coordinator and former Vi fellow, Malick Sané, holds a PhD in economics, and oversees the Bachelor's and Master's programmes in trade policy, export strategy and economic diplomacy. His research areas cover international trade, international economic environment, African economies, environmental economics, and foreign direct investment. Also joining are colleagues Aly Mbaye, and former Vi fellows, Ibrahima Thione Diop, Fatou Gueye Lefèvre and Marème Ndoye.
| Also joining in February was Senegal's Institut Africain des Politiques Commerciales - IAPC, the third academic institution to represent Senegal in the Vi network.|
IAPC offers undergraduate and graduate programmes in international trade policy and negotiations; law and economics of regional integration; international trade and trade facilitation; trade policy management; and financing of enterprises and trade policy. Recent research topics include trade-related aspects of the country's development strategy, graduation of the country from the LDC group, trade in services in Economic Partnership Agreements, and the role of the banking sector in financing the development of the country.
Vi coordinator, Fatou Ndao Seck, holds a Master's degree in international trade policies and negotiations, and contributes the course on the international trading system. Working with Ndao Seck are colleagues Falou Samb and Mamadou Balde.
| Thumbs up for 2015 Vi services, members ask for more|
The Vi team is thrilled with the results of the membership satisfaction survey conducted in February, which garnered top ratings for Virtual Institute capacity-building activities. An overwhelming majority (99%) of the 218 respondents said Vi services were useful in their research (35%), teaching (21%), studies (20%), policymaking (15%) and/or advocacy activities (5%).
"The Vi is changing the face of the world through knowledge sharing, especially for people like us from the poorest parts of the world," said Gibriel Badjie, lecturer at Vi core member, the University of the Gambia.
In 2015, Virtual Institute capacity-building activities directly benefited nearly 1200 academics, students, and practitioners in government and civil society around the world.
"The number of indirect beneficiaries could easily reach several thousand, given the characteristic multiplier effect of Vi services," said Vi Chief, Vlasta Macku. "Teachers transmit their newly acquired knowledge and skills to their students, researchers incorporate new ideas and methods into their studies, and undertake further studies that contribute to national debate and may influence policymaking."
| Second edition of Vi trade and gender online course graduates 77|
Researchers, government officials and civil society representatives in 44 countries gained policy-relevant knowledge through their participation in the Vi online course on trade and gender, held January 4 to February 21. Delivered with UNCTAD's Trade, Gender and Development Work Programme, the course was part of a capacity-building project on trade and gender funded by the government of Finland.
"I feel this course is an excellent introduction to the prevalent economic conditions faced by women," said Aadil Nakhoda, of the Institute of Business Administration in Pakistan. "As international trade is an important factor of economic growth, this course does well to explain why women may not benefit from expansion of international trading activities."
Participants said the course met or exceeded their expectations, and were motivated to apply their new knowledge in their research, teaching and advocacy work.
"I am going to develop a paper on the relationship of trade and gender with the current climate challenges facing Southern Africa," said Diana Kawenda, of Vi member, South Africa's North-West University.
"Our institution will soon embark on reviewing its curriculum and I will play a leading role in reviewing the extent to which gender is mainstreamed in our courses," said Thokozani Ngwira, of Tanzania's Trade Policy Training Centre in Africa.
"Women should be encouraged and their voice must be heard on the constraints they encounter in trading activities," said Olu Ikulajolu, of the Nigerian Export Promotion Council. "My personal efforts will be deployed to assisting women trade to grow."
Vi national workshops train 110 in four countries
The workshops for Togo, Senegal and Chad were funded by the Government of Finland. The workshop for Tanzania was funded by the One UN Fund for Tanzania.
The first workshop, held February 8-12 on the campus of Vi core member, Université de Lomé, introduced 26 participants to theeconometric analysis of commodity-related issues. Delivered by Janvier Nkurunziza, of UNCTAD's Special Unit on Commodities, the training equipped participants with the empirical tools needed to analyze and support the design of better informed economic policies in this area.
"We reviewed approaches to the analysis of the integration of commodities actors in international trade," said one participant. "Case studies analyzing Togo's cotton market, cocoa in the Ivory Coast and Ghana, and the example of the evolution of oil prices were very instructive," added another.
The Vi national workshop for Tanzania held February 23-25 trained 32 participants from seven academic and governmental institutions. Delivered by Piergiuseppe Fortunato, of UNCTAD's Division on Globalization and Development Strategies, the workshop introduced participants to the links between structural transformation, industrial policy and economic development.
"The workshop came just at the right time, as currently the government of Tanzania is considering revitalization of the privatization policy," said France Shayo, Vi coordinator at the Open University of Tanzania, host of the event. "We had an opportunity to discuss various measures that could be taken to accelerate economic growth through industrialization," added another participant.
The Vi workshop for Senegal on the use of remittances and diasporas for development gathered 30 academics and government representatives at Vi core member, Université Cheikh Anta Diop (UCAD), March 2-4. Delivered by Rolf Traeger, Chief of UNCTAD's LDC Section, the workshop analyzed economic aspects of international migration, and examined national and international policies that may enhance benefits for home countries.
"What was most interesting during the workshop were the discussions," wrote Ndiack Fall, who coordinated the organization of the workshop on behalf of UCAD. "At the end of each day, we held discussions among the participants which generated very important ideas, such as the need to put in place a structure in the home country that would orient the remittances towards productive activities."
| The last workshop of the quarter, also delivered by Janvier Nkurunziza, took place March 14-18 at Chadian core Vi member, Université de N'Djaména. This time the workshop on econometric analysis of commodity-related issues attracted 22 lecturers, researchers and graduate students from six universities.|
"This knowledge will serve to improve my courses and lectures on time-series econometric analysis with Stata," said Abba Danna, of the Université Virtuelle du Tchad. "My current research project will be updated taking into account the remarks made, above all I will revise my econometric approach, which was not suited to analyze the problem," added a participant from Université de N'Djaména.
Participants of all four workshops reported that the training had added to their knowledge of the topics, and that they planned to apply their new knowledge in their studies, teaching, research and/or work with policymakers.
| Tanzanian Vi fellow investigates link between export performance and poverty|
Aman Ndewa Nthangu, of core Tanzanian member, the University of Dar es Salaam Business School (UDBS), explored the link between export performance and household poverty in his country during a Vi fellowship February 8 to March 18. The fellowship was funded by the One UN Fund for Tanzania.
With mentoring from former Vi economist, Julia Seiermann, now of UNCTAD’s Division on International Trade in Goods and Services and Commodities, Nthangu analyzed household and exports data to assess whether there is an increase in welfare for households engaged in sectors with growing exports.
"This fellowship has been a wonderful moment of learning," Nthangu said. "It has expanded my understanding on a number of ways to look at the relationship between trade and poverty, and even on other development agenda issues like gender equality and food security."
He intends to apply his new knowledge to the development of his upcoming PhD project and to launch a course on data management.
| Core Spanish university member students in Geneva for fifth Vi study visit|
The Vi organized a half-day training programme at UNCTAD for 35 graduate students in the International Economic Law and Policy programme (IELPO) of Spanish core member, Universitat de Barcelona, February 24.
The first session, delivered by Luisa Rodriguez, of the Division on International Trade in Goods and Services, and Commodities, covered regulatory divergence and trade agreements. The second session, led by Hamed El-Kady, of the Division on Investment and Enterprise, discussed reform of international investment governance.
| Vi videoconference for Russian affiliate focuses on e-commerce|
The latest UNCTAD Information Economy Report (IER) was the focus of a Vi videoconference for 22 students and professors from Russian affiliate member, the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO), March 29. Since 2009, the IER videoconferences have complemented the e-commerce course taught by Vi member coordinator, Anna Abramova.
The report, which examines opportunities and challenges for enterprises in developing countries engaged in e-commerce, was presented by Torbjörn Fredriksson, Chief of UNCTAD's ICT Analysis Section.
Russian Vi member university hosts youth forum on SDGs
More than 500 students from 19 countries gathered to consider the Sustainable Development Goals, and search for the most effective solutions for existing problems. "The debates, workshops delivered by experts, and case studies presented contributed to the creativity and generation of unexpected ideas," said MGIMO professor, Tatiana Isachenko.
| Nouveau: Matériel Pédagogique de l'Institut Virtuel sur le Commerce et le Genre, Volume 1 - Nuevo: Manual Didáctico del Instituto Virtual sobre Comercio y Género, Volumen 2 |
Le matériel pédagogique sur le commerce et le genre a été preparé conjointement par l'Institut virtuel de la CNUCED et la Section du commerce, de la parité et du développement relevant de la Division du commerce international des biens et services, et des produits de base de la CNUCED. Volume 1 explore l'impact du commerce sur l'autonomisation économique des femmes et leur bien-être, aussi que l'impact des inégalités entre hommes et femmes sur le commerce. La publication a été rendue possible par la contribution financière du Gouvernement de la Finlande.
El manual didáctico sobre comercio y género ha sido elaborado conjuntamente por el Instituto Virtual de la UNCTAD y la Sección de Comercio, Género y Desarrollo de la División del Comercio Internacional de Bienes y Servicios y de los Productos Básicos de la UNCTAD. El Volumen 1 explora las consecuencias del comercio para el empoderamiento económico y el bienestar de las mujeres, y el impacto de la desigualdad de género sobre el comercio. La publicación ha sido posible gracias a la contribución financiera del Gobierno de Finlandia.
| Sovereign Asset and Liability Management e-learning training now on the Vi website|
A new e-learning course developed by the Debt and Development Finance Branch of UNCTAD's Division on Globalization and Development Strategies is now available on the Vi website.
Of interest to practitioners, policymakers, academics, researchers, and students, the four-module self-learning course provides an overview, description, and rationale for implementing Sovereign Asset and Liability Management (SALM). The content addresses theoretical and empirical information, and introduces basic and advanced concepts.
| Vi mentored research project: How does trade openness affect women's job opportunities and earnings in Cameroon?|
The first of four Vi mentored research projects arising from the regional workshop on trade and gender analysis is now online. The project is an outcome of the joint capacity building project implemented by the Vi and the Trade, Gender and Development Section of UNCTAD, with financial support from the government of Finland.
The study was developed by Vi members, Simone Nadège Assah Kuete, of the Ministry of Trade and University of Yaoundé II, andBelmondo Tanankem Voufo, of the Ministry of Economy, Planning and Regional Development. With mentoring from UNCTAD experts and former Vi economist, David Zavaleta, Kuete and Tanankem Voufo undertook the empirical assessment of the relationship between increased trade openness and employment opportunities and earnings for men and women in Cameroon.
The study aims to answer two questions: (a) Does increased trade openness improve women's employment opportunities relative to men's?, and (b) What are the effects of increased trade openness on the gender wage gap? Using data from the National Institute of Statistics, the study first compares the evolution of trade openness indicators and women's employment shares in different sectors of the economy. It then estimates wage equations for men and women, and determines whether exposure to trade can account for the part of the wage gap not explained by differences in labour market characteristics.
Their findings show that although trade openness narrowed the gender wage gap, it did not increase women's job opportunities because it did not lead to the expansion of exports in sectors in which most women are concentrated. The study concludes by proposing specific measures -- creation of sectoral clusters, provision of technical training, easier access to credit and land - that would allow women to benefit more from the opportunities created by trade liberalization. It also argues that these measures should take into consideration the important role played by the informal sector in the economy.
| Rethinking Development Strategies after the Financial Crisis – Volume II: Country Studies and International Comparison|
The recent economic trends and the challenges posed by the global crisis reinforce the importance of implementing strategies for development rather than leaving the economy at the mercy of market forces. In this context, the second volume of the joint publication between UNCTAD and Vi core university member, HTW Berlin – University of Applied Sciences, reviews the developmental experience of Brazil, Chile, China and India, major players in the developing world and the current discourse on development.
To a certain extent, the four countries represent development success stories. Brazil, China and India account for a large proportion of the world population and GDP of their respective regions. The size of their economies plays a role in their development conditions, particularly in terms of their domestic markets. By contrast, comparatively small Chile is among the most developed in Latin America and often considered a role model, but has not achieved the levels of the first generation of the Asian Tigers, especially in its industrial development. The publication also contains chapters on the characteristics of top growth performers and a comparative analysis of national development banks.
| Global Value Chains and South-South Trade - Economic Cooperation and Integration among Developing Countries|
Since the start of the millennium, the emergence of new growth poles in the South, and integration efforts at the regional (UNASUR, ASEAN) and cross-regional (BRICS, IBSA and the China-Africa Forum) levels have helped rekindle interest in South-South cooperation. Further spurred by the global financial crisis, the case for promoting South–South trade and investment as a means of maintaining growth in developing countries has become a focus of the international development policy debate.
Building on previous UNCTAD research, this study examines trends and patterns of South-South trade over the last decade as they link to global value chains (GVCs). It begins with an analysis of the links between trade, industrialization and the evolving international division of labour. Following is a discussion of some of the main changes in the global trading system over the past three decades, in particular the growing participation of developing countries in world trade, the shift in the composition of their trade from primary products to manufactures, and the rise of South-South trade. The next three sections examine recent trends in global production sharing, the value added by different countries in GVCs, the contribution of GVCs to rising South-South trade, and the role of FDI in spreading international production and the related development impact. The final section summarizes the key findings and outlines policy implications.
| Commodities and Development Report 2015 - Smallholder Farmers and Sustainable Commodity Development|
The world's smallholder farmers produce more than 80 percent of the value of the world's food on just 12 percent of all agricultural land, yet they record disproportionately high global poverty levels. Despite their vital role in ensuring access to food and global food security, smallholders face great challenges, including limited access to agricultural inputs and credit, and limited capacity to commercialize their produce due to deficient infrastructure and lack of access to market information.
UNCTAD's Commodities and Development Report 2015 showcases instances where innovative financing mechanisms, access to contract farming, better and increased training, know-how and motivation services, and agricultural and financial services using information and communications technology, have gradually increased smallholders' productivity and integration into markets. It suggests that developing countries put in place policies to support sustainable agricultural development, strengthen institutional capacities, provide appropriate infrastructure, facilitate technology access, secure land tenure and create a business-friendly environment for smallholders, and argues in favour of a better alignment of policies, pledges and actions at the national, regional and international levels in support of smallholder farming.
| Technology and Innovation Report 2015 - Fostering Innovation Policies for Industrial Development|
Building productive capacities and promoting sustainable industrialization have an important role to play in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Environmentally sustainable, technology-led, productivity-enhancing and poverty-reducing industrialization must be supported by a combination of industrial and science, technology and innovation (STI) policies.
The UNCTAD Technology and Innovation Report 2015 provides an in-depth analysis of industrial and STI policies in Ethiopia, Nigeria and Tanzania, and reviews regional trends. Results indicate that, because of inefficient coordination of industrial and STI policies, even African countries that spend more on research and development as a proportion of GDP, do not manage to export more high- and medium-technology products. The report identifies bottlenecks in this area, and provides suggestions for African governments to better implement STI policies and coordinate them with industrial policies and industrial development plans.
| WTO Statistical Profiles on Global Value Chains|
WTO's trade in value-added and global value chains (GVCs) statistical profiles bring together a set of indicators on trade within GVCs in 61 countries and 34 industries.
Based on the OECD-WTO Trade in Value-Added database, the profiles provide insights into the actual contribution of foreign trade to the economies of these countries, their participation in GVCs and the contribution of services to the value added content of their exports. The profiles also cover trade in intermediate goods and services, trade facilitation and foreign direct investment. The indicators available include value added content of exports by industries and export destinations, forward and backward participation in GVCs, services value added contribution to exports, trade in merchandise and commercial services intermediates, cost and time to export/import at the border, and inward and outward stock of foreign direct investment.
| The State of Sustainable Markets: Statistics and Emerging Trends 2015|
With changes in consumers' buying patterns and their willingness to pay more for sustainable products, identifying products that are sustainable from the labour, environment and social point of view has generated various voluntary sustainability standards (VSS).
This publication, a joint project between the International Trade Centre, the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture and the International Institute for Sustainable Development, is the first global data report on the fast-growing VSS. It presents an overview of the standards, providing a short description and key information, as well as production-related data for key global sustainability standards across nine commodity sectors -- bananas, cocoa, coffee, cotton, forestry, palm oil, soybeans, cane sugar and tea.
| Global Report on the Joint UNRC Trade Facilitation and Paperless Trade Survey 2015|
Reducing trade costs is essential for developing economies to participate in international production networks, and use trade as an engine of growth and sustainable development. Trade facilitation (the simplification and harmonization of import, export and transit procedures) including paperless trade (the use and exchange of electronic data and documents to support the trade transaction process) has gained increasing importance as evidenced by the 2013 WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) and regional and sub-regional initiatives in this area.
The report presents the results of a global survey on the implementation of trade facilitation measures conducted by UN regional commissions in cooperation with partners, including UNCTAD. It covers measures relating to transparence, formalities, institutional arrangements and cooperation, paperless trade, cross-border paperless trade, and transit facilitation. It is accompanied by a full dataset for 119 economies across eight regions worldwide.
| SustainabilityXchange - http://www.sustainabilityxchange.info/|
The International Trade Centre's SustainabilityXchange is a freely available knowledge-sharing platform for those working on sustainable supply chain development in agriculture, aquaculture, and forestry. It aims to assist practitioners in mainstreaming sustainability into their operations, through services focused on improving their performance with regard to organizational capacity, ability to manage social, environmental and product quality, and complying with sustainability standards. Available on the platform are: a library with capacity-building tools, reports and presentations; a community forum; an events calendar; a directory listing training, consultancy services and sustainability experts; and job postings in the sustainability area. A Spanish version is also available.
| Summer internship available at the Vi - Deadline April 19|
The UNCTAD Virtual Institute is recruiting a project management intern for its Geneva-based team.
Eligible candidates must be Master's students or recent graduates who can commit to work five days per week (35 hours) for four to six months beginning May 17. Priority will be given to applicants with skills in filming, video-editing and distance learning development, as well as English-language drafting.
As with all UN internships, the post is unpaid. Interns are responsible for all costs associated with travel, stay and insurance.
| Partial scholarship: Summer school in Russia - Deadline May 10|
Vi Russian affiliate member, St. Petersburg State University (SPSU), invites Vi members to participate in its International Summer School in Russian Business(ISSRB), to be held June 26 - July 13.
The program aims to equip participants with the knowledge, strategies and practices required to successfully conduct business in the contemporary Russian environment. The four-module summer session, complemented by enterprise forums, company visits and cultural activities, will be delivered by leading academics and experienced Western business executives working in Russia.
SPSU is offering Vi member graduate students a partial scholarship covering 50 percent of the EUR 1290 programme cost. Participants must cover their own travel and stay expenses, which are not included in the programme fee.
| Call for papers: REDLAS conference - Deadline May 31|
The Latin American Network for Research on Services has issued a call for papers in preparation for its fifth conference, "Services, Technology and International Trade: Trends, Challenges and Opportunities for Latin America," to be held October 4-5 in São Paulo, Brazil.
The conference addresses technology, service innovation and business models; trade in services in Latin America; and Latin American services in global value chains. Master's and PhD students may also present their thesis work as part of a special session on October 3, in which members of the academic selection committee will provide comments.
| Partial scholarship: Summer school in Switzeland|
Vi Swiss core member, the World Trade Institute (WTI) of the University of Bern is offering a 50 percent discount to Vi members participating in its Summer Academy, scheduled July 4 to August 5.
Topics of this year's edition of the Summer Academy include the trade dispute settlement; sustainable trade; investment rule-making; and trade in services liberalization. The fee for attending the full five-week programme is CHF 5,250. However, participants may choose to register for one or more specific weeks.
| Call for essays: WTO award - Deadline June 1|
Vi partner, the World Trade Organization, is accepting submissions for the 2016 WTO Essay Award for Young Economists. The papers must address issues related to trade policy and international trade cooperation. Author(s) must possess or be engaged in the completion of a PhD degree and, if over 30 years of age, be no more than two years past a PhD defence.
The winning essay, to be announced at the annual meeting of the European Trade Study Group, will receive CHF 5,000. The award ceremony will take place in September in Helsinki, Finland.
New Vi intern
Her responsibilities include developing multimedia teaching resources; updating the digital library; photographing, filming and editing expert presentations, assisting with the organization of videoconferences and study tours, and supporting other Vi activities.
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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UNCTAD - United Nations Conference on Trade and Development
Division on Globalization and Development Strategies
Palais des Nations
1211 Geneva 10 - Switzerland
Phone: +41 22 917 5823 Fax: +41-22 917 0050
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