Sixty-five academics and government officials from 34 countries successfully completed the fourth edition of the Vi online course on Trade and Poverty Analysis, held June 4 to August 19.
Funded by the Government of Finland, the course provided participants the empirical tools needed to assess the impact of trade and trade-related policies on poverty and income distribution. The ultimate goal of the course is to support governments in the design of pro-poor trade policies conducive to the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals.
Government representatives participating in the course reported that they feel better qualified to evaluate how trade policy implemented or envisioned may affect the most vulnerable in their countries.
“The course has enhanced my skills to confidently undertake trade and poverty-related research and effectively communicate my research findings to relevant agencies in a more structured way so as to guide trade policy and review,” said Timothy Macharia, of Kenya’s Ministry of Industry, Trade and Cooperatives.
“As a policy-maker interested in evidence-based policymaking and social concerns, this course has certainly widened and improved my capacity in policy advising,” said Victoria Orozco, of Argentina’s Ministry of Production. “When evaluating the benefits/costs of a change in trade or of a proposed commercial tool, the distributional impacts at the micro level (households) could have a notable size. I regard as vital to include them into any comprehensive analysis.”
Participating academics said that the content of the course (manual, research papers and multimedia lectures) will find its way into their university courses. In addition, they valued the subsidiary skills they developed, such as the use of the Stata software, the application of regressions, and the generation of graphs for communicating results clearly and easily. They also said they will use the course’s pedagogical approach, which combines theory and hands-on exercises culminating in a final project that requires the application of all the techniques learned to examine gender implications of trade using data from Cape Verde.
"I have introduced an applied international economics course named ‘quantitative analysis of international economics,’ so I shall integrate the non-parametric techniques and the research papers included in the course content along with (Stata) do-files,” said Archana Srivastava, of India’s Birla Institute of Technology and Science.
“I look forward to teaching my first class on international trade and incorporating certain aspects of the training material relevant are for Filipino students, because the examples and material are geared towards developing countries, in contrast with textbooks that we normally use, which are from the US,” said Irwin Cruz of the Philippines’ Ateneo de Manila University.
Course graduates left the course enthusiastic about pursuing trade and poverty analysis in their countries. Topics cited include several trade agreements, such as those involving the European Union and Kenya, the Philippines and the East African Community. Other planned projects aim to analyze the welfare effects of Nigeria’s trade policy on rice imports, trade openness on income inequality in Bangladesh, Non-Tariff Measures in China, and international trade policy in Ethiopia, Egypt, Lebanon, Togo and Serbia, among many others.