Nine students of the Master’s in International Trade from Vi Colombian affiliate member, Universidad Sergio Arboleda, completed their fifth study visit to UNCTAD April 6.
Alex Izurieta, of the Division on Globalization and Development Strategies, kicked off the day by presenting the Trade and Development Report 2015, which focuses on reforming the international financial architecture.
”We are still living in financial instability mainly due to insufficient global demand,” Izurieta said. ”Until now, emerging economies have been the biggest global growth factor, but their slowdown will most likely have a significant impact on the developed countries’ growth.

“The current system is fragmented and unjust, because it deepens the crisis in indebted countries and enables the private creditors’ rescue. We need a well-functioning international monetary system for sovereign external debt, which minimizes the cost of crisis and shares it equally between the parties,” he added.

Izurieta concluded his presentation by explaining the national measures countries can take in order to secure finance for development. However, he stressed there is a need for a global set of rules for debt restructuring.

The second session of the day, delivered by Scarlett Fondeur-Gil of the Division on Technology and Logistics, dealt with the latest Information Economy Report, which outlines key opportunities and challenges of e-commerce for developing countries.

”The importance of e-commerce is rapidly increasing, and developing countries are assuming a more prominent role as both buyers and sellers of goods and services online,” Fondeur-Gil began.

Global business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) e-commerce bring opportunities for developing countries to participate in global value chains, obtain greater market access, and lower transaction costs.

“However, an online market place raises legal challenges that need to be addressed by national legislations and the cyber legislation needs to be adapted to each country, taking into account their individual strengths and weaknesses,” Fondeur-Gil said.

To measure the readiness of countries to implement e-commerce, UNCTAD has developed a new B2C e-commerce index, containing information about Internet use, secure servers, credit card penetration and postal delivery services.  

During the last session of the study tour, former Colombian entrepreneur, Cristina Martinez, of the Division on Investment and Enterprise, led a discussion focusing on ways to better promote entrepreneurship in the country.

She began by presenting UNCTAD’s Entrepreneurship Policy Framework and the Empretec training programme, which spans 36 countries.

“Participation in the programme promotes the development of entrepreneurial skills and helps the participants develop professionally, even without becoming an entrepreneur,” Martinez said.

Given that several of the students already had some entrepreneurial experience, the discussion that followed focused on sharing their stories as young entrepreneurs and the challenges they have faced.

The study visit concluded with a guided tour of the Palais des Nations.