Twenty-five Burundian academics and trade practitioners(*) gained skills in the analysis of the impact of trade policy instruments and agreements during a Vi workshop held January 5-8 in Bujumbura.
Delivered by Marco Fugazza, of UNCTAD’s Division on International Trade in Goods and Services, and Commodities, the event was the first professional development activity organized by the Vi for core member, the University of Burundi. The workshop was funded by the Government of Finland.
The four-day programme combined lectures with practical examples on the use of the gravity model in trade policy research.
Trainees learned how to build a dataset for the gravity model, and participated in hands-on exercises applying the model to measure the impact of membership in the World Trade Organization and in regional trade agreements (RTA).
“I was not aware that the gravity model theory is linked to WTO membership and RTA,” said a participant from TradeMark East Africa. “This training comes at a time when our institution is trying to help East African Community (EAC) country members. It will help me to understand and analyze the dynamics of trade flows among EAC members.”
Based on the feedback received, the workshop met or exceeded expectations, and substantially increased knowledge of trade empirics and the statistical software Stata. Participants also mentioned that they planned to actively use the acquired skills in their teaching of international economics and international trade, and in their future research and work with policymakers.
On the last day of the workshop the university organized the conference, “Market Access and Export Performance: Case study of Burundi,” to which Fugazza also contributed.
(*) Ministry of East African Community Affairs, Ministry of Finance, Economic Development and Planning, Ministry of Trade, Industry, Posts and Tourism, and TradeMark East Africa.