A partnership with academia

Building knowledge for trade and development



altThe UNCTAD Virtual Institute today kicked off its online course on trade and poverty, the first phase of a broader research capacity building project funded by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs and the Government of Finland. 

Nearly 380 academics from 76 countries applied for the course, designed in collaboration with UNCTAD’s Division on International Trade in Goods and Services, and Commodities; the Division on Africa, Least Developed Countries and Special Programmes; and the Division on Globalization and Development Strategies.

Developed specifically for researchers and university lecturers from developing and transition countries, the objective of the course is to provide participants with the empirical tools needed to assess the impact of trade and trade-related policies on poverty and income distribution. 

Part of the Vi’s broader effort to strengthen research capacities in participants' countries, the course aims to support governments in the design of pro-poor trade policies conducive to the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals. 

Written by Guido Porto, of the National University of La Plata, Argentina; Nicolás Depetris Chauvin, of the African Center for Economic Transformation, Ghana, and the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina; and David Jaume, of the National University of La Plata, Argentina, the course takes a hands-on approach emphasizing data manipulation and the use of econometric tools. 

The final selection includes 101 participants from 54 countries in Asia and the Pacific, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, and Eastern Europe. About one-third are women, and 28 come from 15 Least Developed Countries. 

The course is made up of six modules: Trade, Growth and Poverty; The Distributional Impact of Price Changes; Wage Income and Prices of Non-Traded Goods; Measuring Price Changes; Special Topics; and Ex-Post Analysis. 

Each module contains theoretical and empirical readers accompanied by multimedia lectures presented by Depetris Chauvin.  The modules also include hands-on applications based on one or more relevant papers, and conclude with a knowledge-checking quiz.

At the end of the course, participants apply their new knowledge and skills to a practical exercise analyzing the effect of trade on poverty, with a special focus on gender. 

In addition, a final essay will give the participants the opportunity to practice writing funding proposals for policy-relevant research projects on the relationship between trade and poverty in their countries. 

The second phase of the project will invite top course graduates to submit proposals for trade and poverty research projects designed in consultation with national policymakers. Researchers will receive funding and mentoring; findings will be compiled into a publication to be presented to government representatives in Geneva by the authors and their policymaker partners.