A partnership with academia

Building knowledge for trade and development


altThe Vi, with support from the government of Finland, facilitated a South-South capacity-building activity between core member, the University of Nairobi, and affiliate member, Moi University, Kenya, November 3-14.

The idea of this teaching cooperation emerged in June 2013 when Moi’s Vi member coordinator, Mark Korir, Head of the Department of Economics,, then a Vi fellow, and Bethuel Kinuthia, then a participant in the Vi project on trade and poverty, met in Geneva.

During his fellowship at the Vi, Korir was developing a proposal for a Master's programme in International Economics and Trade, and as this intended programme was new to his university, he was looking for lecturers to deliver courses in the first intake.

Once the programme was approved by Moi authorities, the discussions took a more concrete shape and it was agreed that Kinuthia would teach two courses, on International Trade in Goods and Commodities, and on International Trade in Services, in the framework of the programme.

This first course, also attended by PhD students from Moi, covered world and regional trade, with a focus on Africa, the East African region and Kenya; trade theory and policy concerning natural resources; trade and  environment; competition policy and consumer protection; and multilateral negotiations on agriculture.

The second course familiarized the students with trends and the measurement of trade in services and the links between services trade and development. The course also delved into bilateral, regional (East Africa Community, COMESA) and multilateral negotiations and agreements (GATS) concerning trade in services. Several types of services were reviewed including those related to health, education, water, transport infrastructure, communications, and financial and professional services. 

The content of the courses provided both theoretical concepts and practical examples. Kinuthia shared his notes with the students after every lecture. He also gave daily assignments which were due every other day, and set the exams for the two courses.

"The students and lecturers welcomed the idea of a lecturer from the University of Nairobi coming over to teach at Moi,” writes Korir. “The students felt that this was a high profile course that was supported by UNCTAD. "This was important since the Master's in International Economics and Trade curriculum is new, yet we did not have adequate capacity to deliver the courses."

"I was very happy based on what I have experienced and think that this should be continued," Kinuthia said.