A partnership with academia

Building knowledge for trade and development


The Virtual Institute organized a workshop on industrial policy for four lecturers and 27 Master's students -- primarily trade professionals in the private and public sectors -- of Tanzanian Vi member, the University of Dar es Salaam Business School (UDBS), May 17-20.

Delivered by Milasoa Cherel-Robson and Bineswaree Bolaky, of UNCTAD's Division for Africa, Least Developed Countries and Special Programmes, the workshop was designed to expose participants to the basics of industrial policy, and to build the capacity of lecturers expected to teach courses in the Master of International Trade (MIT) and Master of International Business (MIB) programmes.

The workshop presented the theoretical underpinnings of the role of industrialization in economic development, particularly in Africa, highlighting challenges and opportunities for the continent.

"My expectation was to learn how developing countries could use industrialization to reap the opportunities of globalization," said one of the participants. "Indeed, this expectation was met."

Participants also examined the international and regional contexts, and built practical skills in data collection and analysis useful to inform policymaking.

"The issue of integration of industrial policies and economic integration in the world and Tanzania as well gives an input on how to handle good industrial policy and the ongoing East African Community economic integration process," said Master's student, Nico Ombeni, who works at the the Mpwapwa District Council.

Another participant commented on the workshop's approach involving "(c)ombining data, theory and literature review for dealing with issues at hand. The most interesting example was the success stories and lessons learned from other countries. This gives room for wider thought, like selecting the measures between vertical, horizontal and functional, which was an eye opener to me."

The workshop culminated in a simulation exercise where participants produced a draft industrial policy document for Tanzania.

"The role playing gave me an opportunity to internalize theoretical knowledge for policymaking," added another participant.

The training was rated as "considerably exceeding" or "exceeding" expectations by 100 percent of the participants, who declared having acquired knowledge and skills that will prove highly relevant in their professional and academic activities. "Through this workshop, I have acquired enough knowledge and skills and I am going to apply it with my students and also I will use it as a contribution in development activities within the country," commented one of them.

"We strongly recommend the work by the UNCTAD Vi in building capacity in LDC universities in the area of Trade and Development," said George Gandye, Vi member coordinator at UDBS. "Through its support, UDBS is able to run some courses using its internally developed staff. Overall, it is difficult to image how challenging it would have been for UDBS to deliver the MIT and MIB up to quality in the abscence of Vi support."