The Virtual Institute, with support from the Governement of Finland, granted a six-week reseach fellowship at UNCTAD to Adama Sow Badji, lecturer and researcher at Senegalese core member, Université Cheikh Anta Diop, September 14 to October 23. Sow Badji is the 11th researcher from Senegal to receive a Vi fellowship since 2006, when the Vi began to offer this capacity-building service.
"The fellowship at the Virtual Institute has enhanced my knowledge on issues related to trade, particularly on various standards and tariff barriers that countries put in place to reduce imports (exports of partner countries) ," she reported at the end of her stay. "This will allow me as a researcher economist to deepen my research in the field, and suggest recommendations to policymakers in order to improve competitiveness."
Sow Badji ‘s goal is to assess the impact on non-tariff measures (NTMs), in particular sanitary and phytosanitary measures and technical barriers to trade on exports of Senegalese firms to the European Union between 2000 and 2012. Specifically, she expects that her analysis will identify the firms and products that were (positively or negatively) affected by NTMs, i.e. entered or exited the EU market as a result of the NTMs.
Working with UNCTAD mentor, Marco Fugazza, of the Division on International Trade in Goods and Services, and Commodities, she gathered and analyzed firm-level data -- obtained from the World Bank and the World Integrated Trade Solution -- on approximately 3000 Senegalese enterprises.
"Through the fellowship I was able to complete my database and the empirical analysis, performing estimations using Stata," said Sow Badji, who plans to submit her results for publication in January 2016. "I was also able to reorient my project in a more interesting direction than my original plan."
"The paper could be useful for the government's negotiations of NTMs, in particular about mutual recognition or preferential treatment of Senegalese products with regard to NTMs," Fugazza said.
Geneva-based country representatives agree. During a discussion of Sow Badji’s work with Magor Mbayé and Malick Diallo, first counsellors at the permanent mission of Senegal to the UN, they said that strengthening the link between researchers and policymakers would be very useful, particularly if the mission or the ministry could be more involved in the identification of questions/areas on which the university could undertake research in response to government's needs.
"This is an excellent opportunity for us who are not on the academic side, but rather the practical side, to be able to use the research developed during the Vi fellowships," Diallo said.
"Identification of products which are affected by NTMs could help the mission in negotiations with our European partners, for example, on trade preferences," Mbayé added.
"The fellowship has exceeded my expectations," Sow Baji said. "I gained more than I expected, and for my institution, deepening my knowledge in trade and development is a further asset, which will be shared through the courses I will teach, and in the field, while taking part in panels at seminars and conferences."