The Virtual Institute online course on Economic Analysis of Non-Tariff Measures(NTMs), funded by the Government of Finland, was held September 3 - October 21. Ninety-seven academics, researchers and government officials from 44 countries successfully completed the course.
“The depth of the course in terms of fully explaining and illustrating concepts went beyond my expectations,” said Faith Melico Zimunya, of Botswana’s Ministry of Agricultural Development and Food Security.
Grounded in pro-development analysis—intellectually and empirically—UNCTAD’s annual Trade and Development Reports (TDRs) have long been ahead of the curve in raising red flags for policymakers, as well as in proposing alternative ways forward for catch-up growth and inclusive development. This year’s report, launched on September 26, has proven especially prescient, given rising economic turmoil and the looming threat of another global downturn.
The world economy remains on shaky ground a decade after the 2008 financial crisis, with trade wars a symptom of a deeper malaise, according to UNCTAD’s Trade and Development Report 2018: Power, Platforms and the Free Trade Delusion.
While the economy has picked up since early 2017, growth remains spasmodic, and many countries are operating below potential, states the report. This year is unlikely to see a change of gear.
“The world economy is again under stress,” UNCTAD Secretary-General Mukhisa Kituyi said. “The immediate pressures are building around escalating tariffs and volatile financial flows but behind these threats to global stability is a wider failure – since 2008 – to address the inequities and imbalances of our hyperglobalized world.”
The September 2008 bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers brought the international financial system to the edge of collapse. Ten years later, has global finance become safer, simpler,and fairer?
During September 3–7, 2018, UNCTAD’s Division on Globalization and Development Strategies hosted a summer school in Geneva (“Money, finance and debt: Old debates, new challenges”) to consider these questions and more. Co-organized with the Institute for New Economic Thinking’s (INET) Young Scholars Initiative, the weeklong gathering drew policymakers and scholars of all ages from 23 countries, who debated topics far and wide: money, finance and hyper-globalization, perspectives on financialization, financing for development and the Sustainable Development Goals, illicit financial flows and cryptocurrencies, and sovereign debt and development.
The UNCTAD Virtual Institute (Vi) was there to capture it all, as well as conduct one-on-one interviews with various experts. Here are some highlights.
Sixty-five academics and government officials from 34 countries successfully completed the fourth edition of the Vi online course on Trade and Poverty Analysis, held June 4 to August 19.
Funded by the Government of Finland, the course provided participants the empirical tools needed to assess the impact of trade and trade-related policies on poverty and income distribution. The ultimate goal of the course is to support governments in the design of pro-poor trade policies conducive to the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals.
Government representatives participating in the course reported that they feel better qualified to evaluate how trade policy implemented or envisioned may affect the most vulnerable in their countries.