For the fourth time since the inception of the Master in International Trade programme in 2005, a group of 23 students and two lecturers from Vi core Tanzanian member, the University of Dar es Salaam Business School, underwent intensive training at Geneva-based international organizations July 9-13.
A valuable complement to their classroom studies, the study tour organized by the Virtual Institute included presentations and discussions on international economic issues of specific interest to Tanzania and the Least Developed Countries.
The programme of the tour was developed in cooperation with experts from UNCTAD's technical cooperation service, the Special Unit on Commodities, the divisions on Africa and LDCs, on technology and logistics, and on investment, as well as Vi partners at the International Trade Centre (ITC) and the World Trade Organization (WTO).
Students got acquainted with UNCTAD's mission and current thinking on the economic role of the state in developing countries, the development of productive capacities and industrial policy, structural transformation and sustainable development in Africa, and science, technology and innovation policy in Tanzania. These conceptual topics were complemented by presentations on terms of trade, regional integration in Africa, as well as the impact of the recent crises and the commodity boom on developing and the least developed countries. Students were also introduced to UNCTAD's business linkages programme, and participated in an exercise on the selection of maritime-sector related activities that could be profitably developed in their country.
During their visit to the WTO, the group engaged in discussions on the Trade Policy Review of Tanzania, and the implications of the Doha Development Round for their country. The sessions at ITC were dedicated to its market analysis tools, in particular Trade Map, Market Access Map and the programme on non-tariff measures.
"My knowledge has been broadened and I hope once I get into policy decision positions, I will have the ability to make informed decisions and contributions," commented one study tour participant.
"The presentations, especially on maritime business, will help to add more inputs to my dissertation on the performance of the Dar es Salaam port in cargo handling, in particular the users' perspective", added another student.
The students took home some messages that they hoped to be able to put in practice in their future work for the government and the business sector.
"UNCTAD and other international organizations cannot just make things happen in one's country,” said one participant. “It is the role of the country to make things happen. The government and the private sector need to work hard to explore the opportunities and use them for development."
"LDCs, including Tanzania, should form their model of development depending on the country's environment,” added another. “Development is a very long process and countries should be prepared for it. Countries should develop productive capacities purposely in the form of product/export diversification,
"Africans can make it."