Ten students and lecturers from core Colombian member, Universidad EAFIT, took part in a full-day training programme at UNCTAD as part of a Vi-organized study visit October 9.
During the first session, Raúl Javaloyes, officer-in-charge of UNCTAD’s Technical Cooperation Service, introduced the students to the work and key objectives of UNCTAD.
He was followed by a presentation on industrial policy by Rolf Traeger, of the Division on Africa, Least Developed Countries and Special Programmes.
"Industrial policy is very important in order to address structural weaknesses and ensure inclusive growth," he said. "Historically all high-income countries have adopted policies that affected their economic structure. The key question is no longer whether to engage in industrial policy, but how to do it right."
The third session, delivered by Angel Gonzalez-Sanz, of the Division on Technology and Logistics (DTL), focused on technology and innovation.
He stressed the importance of a national system of science, technology and innovation. However, "government officials outside countries’ science ministries often fail to see the value in developing innovation policies when confronted with other more pressing problems," resulting in persistent low levels of investment in innovation in developing countries.
The last topic covered was trade Logistics and Trade Facilitation, by DTL’s Jan Hoffmann and Alina Rodriguez. The presenters covered the main points of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA), and asserted that distance, logistics performance and connectivity, and border management are major sources of trade costs, more so than tariffs.
"Overall trade costs are likely to have a larger impact on trade flows than import tariffs, and full implementation of TFA can have a bigger impact on trade costs than reducing all tariffs to zero," Hoffmann said.
"Empirical evidence shows that trade costs in developing countries are on average 1.8 times higher than in developed countries, and the highest trade costs are faced by African countries,", Rodriguez added.
The visit concluded with a guided tour of the Palais des Nations.
"The visit was a life-changing experience," said EAFIT lecturer, Ricardo Uribe Marin. "The students were very impressed by the content of the presentations and the fact of being at the Palais."