The Virtual Institute organized a third study tour for students from the professional Master’s in International Trade of the University of Dar-es-Salaam Business School. Held June 20-24, the tailored programme offered expert presentations on the economic development of African countries.
The 27 participating students were exposed to the research work and policy recommendations of UNCTAD experts, along with those from the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the International Trade Centre (ITC). Lucas Saronga, Minister Plenipotentiary at the Permanent Mission of Tanzania in Geneva, also made the time to discuss with the students the role of the mission in trade negotiations in Geneva.
"The sessions added to my understanding of trade issues and the examples were relevant, as they matter to my country," said Nebart Mwapwele.
The programme started with sessions to build understanding of the development of productive capacities, the challenges that economies face in their establishment, and their impact on economic activity.
"I enjoyed learning about domestic resources mobilization and the economic role of the state in development," added Ephata Johannes Ole-Lolubo.
Other sessions touched on the need for the establishment of science, technology and innovation policies to improve the overall knowledge and capabilities of the work force, and impact positively on macro-economic, trade, investment, agricultural and infrastructure policies. A review of how investment policies can also bring about much needed investment and finance in Tanzania was also discussed.
A video presentation based on the Ugandan experience showed how small and medium-sized enterprises benefit from foreign direct investment. The importance of developing adequate trade infrastructure to support trading activities, particularly linking up with adequate maritime transport and the development of its related activities was also studied.
"The challenges facing Tanzania in WTO negotiations and the opportunities for Tanzania's economic growth through its ship and steel industries was very useful for me. Nothing was a waste of time," said Daines Mtei.
At the WTO, the students were introduced to the challenges of the Doha Development Round, with a special focus on issues of interest to the Least Developed Countries. Students learnt much about the participation of Tanzania in the negotiations and the process ahead of the 8th WTO ministerial conference.
At ITC, students were introduced to analytical tools which they acknowledged will enhance their work as they complete their studies on international trade. As a large percentage of the students holds government-related posts, they also said that these tools will help them with their day-to-day policy work.
"I felt that my fellow participants and I have been re-born in the area of international trade thanks to this study tour," Ole-Lolubo said at the end of the course.
The accompanying professors, George Gandye and Mesia Ilomo, both said that the UNCTAD Virtual Institute has been instrumental in building capacity for LDCs professionals. The organization and successful undertaking of the study tour is a bonus to their student's professional career, they added.