Rich with its experience in the area of capacity building, the Vi published studies on the contributions of academic capacity building to the strengthening of trade-related capacities in developing countries.
Capacity building for academia in trade for development: A study on contributions to the development of human resources and to policy support for developing countries
Prepared by Argentina's Latin American School of Social Sciences (FLACSO), the study provides an overview of the initiatives and actors dealing with academic capacity building in the area of trade for development, as well as new forms of strengthening knowledge and skills in developing countries. Traditionally, capacity building technical assistance has often focused on short-term goals, prioritizing the objectives of the donor (often developed countries). Novel forms of capacity building have however emerged emphasizing sustainable programmes tailored to domestic and regional demands. The study analyzes two initiatives, the Latin American Trade Network (LATN) and the Virtual Institute, whose projects have been contributing to reshaping the approach to building capacity of academic circles. Of relevance are the programmes' emphasis on localization of materials and home-grown agendas, as well as the efforts to involve a broader set of actors, such as representatives from civil society and business, and policymakers engaged in international trade negotiations. The analysis shows that LATN and the Vi have been successful in accomplishing their goals of enhancing long-term capacities and improving knowledge in great part due to their commitment to provide services based on the needs of their memberships and target audiences.
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Trade-related capacity building for academia in African Least Developed Countries: Development of human resources and policy support
The study, developed thanks to funding provided by the government of Finland, is authored by a former Vi member coordinator at the University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, Francis Matambalya, and prefaced by H.E. Dr. Mary Nagu, former Minister of Industry, Trade and Marketing of the United Republic of Tanzania and current Minister of State. It takes stock of capacity-building needs and activities in African LDCs, surveying key actors and highlighting the characteristics of effective trade-related capacity building. Based on the premise that LDCs lack a critical mass of qualified experts to manage their countries' development agendas, the study looks at the potential of academic institutions to ease this constraint – by providing education and training to current and future trade experts, undertaking research to inform policymaking, and engaging in policy advocacy. It also examines the specific case of the UNCTAD Virtual Institute and acknowledges the contribution that it has made to strengthening academia’s ability to teach and research trade and development topics in these countries.