A partnership with academia

Building knowledge for trade and development

Vi Quarterly Newsletter


Issue #26 - September 2010 - Welcome to the Vi quarterly newsletter











Fourth Brazilian institution joins the Vi
The Institute for Applied Economic Research (IPEA), a prominent think tank whose research covers the entire range of trade and development topics, and which has close ties to the Presidency of the Republic, joined the Virtual Institute as an affiliate member in September.

The discussions about IPEA's membership were initiated by Antonio Carlos Macedo e Silva, coordinator at the core Vi university in Brazil, University of Campinas, this August.

IPEA publishes its research extensively, including through its own publications, which include a series of Discussion Papers, a Review of International Economy and Policy, and the "World Times" and "Development Challenges" magazines. IPEA's objective is to produce and disseminate knowledge to improve public policies and to contribute to Brazilian economic planning.

Recently, IPEA decided to strengthen its role as a training institution by launching a Master's Programme in Development and Public Policies in February 2008. This programme has been developed and is being delivered in cooperation with the National School of Public Health, and includes contributions of invited lecturers from other Brazilian universities. The primary target audience is policymakers from Brazil and other Latin American countries.

The cooperation between IPEA and the Virtual Institute will be coordinated by Marcos Antônio Macedo Cintra (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.), Deputy Director of International Economic and Political Studies. Marcos holds a PhD in Economics and his main research interests include the international financial system, the US and its financial system, and Latin America and financial instability. Another 18 colleagues associated with the Master's programme will be involved in the cooperation with the Virtual Institute.

Government of Finland

Finland stands strong(er) behind the Vi
The Government of Finland, loyal supporter of the Virtual Institute since its inception, has again increased its funding of Vi activities for Least Developed Countries and Sub-Saharan Africa.

"This support has made it possible for us to launch new services that have since then also received support from other donors," said Vi Chief, Vlasta Macku. "The long-term support that we were able to provide to LDC universities thanks to the Finnish funding started to have not only immediate effects on the teaching and research of participating universities, but also longer-term results, in particular in the country that has been benefiting the longest, Tanzania."

Finland kick-started services such as the Vi fellowships (now also funded by Spain, and, in two instances, by sending universities), mentored research projects (now also funded by Norway) and national professional development workshops (now also funded by Spain).


Participants in Vi Natural Resources workshop

Government of Norway



Natural resources for development subject of latest Vi workshop
Twenty-four participants from 14 countries in Africa took part in the Virtual Institute workshop on the "Teaching and Research of Natural Resources and Economic Development" held in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, July 12 -16.

Organized in cooperation with the UNCTAD Special Unit on Commodities, the Norwegian Oil for Development Initiative, and Vi member, the University of Dar es Salaam Business School, the workshop was funded by the Government of Norway.

The workshop was based on the two new modules on "Mining and Economic Development" and "Oil/Gas and Economic Development" of the Vi teaching materials on commodities.

Participants found the five-day course useful for improving the quality of their courses and for advancing on their research agendas.

“The workshop gave me a focused appreciation of various issues related to natural resources which I will use in my teaching work at the university," said Edward Chisakulo, of Copperbelt University in Zambia. "It also gave me insights into understanding policy issues and how to develop links with policymakers.”

“Many of us will take it up from the workshop outcomes and experience to extend our research and career potential to the next level,” added Benard Musekese Wabukala, of Vi Ugandan member, the Makerere University Business School in Kampala.

All materials from the workshop are now online.


Uganda lectures on Chinese secret

Tanzania lectures on Chinese secret

Government of Finland

Lectures in Uganda and Tanzania share secrets of China’s steady growth
Prof. Yang Laike, of Shanghai's East China Normal University, conducted a series of lectures on the Chinese economy and business models in Kampala, Uganda, and in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania in July and August, as part of the HTW/DAAD/Vi network capacity building project. The lecture series were funded by the Government of Finland.

The lectures, the first in an effort to encourage South-South cooperation, were held at Vi member universities, Makerere University Business School (MUBS) and the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM), and addressed 63 Master's students, lecturers and trade practitioners.

The Ugandan lectures, held July 25-30, helped to build the capacity of 30 lecturers handling courses on finance, international business and trade from MUBS and other Ugandan universities. The Tanzanian series took place August 2-4, and involved five lecturers and 28 students of the Master of International Trade, who are also representatives of various government ministries.

Laike's lectures covered his country's position on various topics, such as the global financial crisis, East Asia, the United States, and Africa. Of great interest were the lectures on the Chinese banking system and capital markets, as well as those on the Chinese business environment, economic structure, economic reforms and the challenges the country has faced.

"Prof. Laike presented the various transformations undertaken by the Chinese government and the strategic policies used to achieve economic development," said Sikudhani A. Kisamvu, of the Tanzanian Ministry of Industry, Trade and Marketing. "The presentation was complemented with a comparative trade analysis between China and Europe, US, Latin America, Japan and Africa."

The lectures also served to inspire several participants to incorporate the knowledge acquired into the course programs they teach and the research and policy analysis they conduct.

"Learning how China did from 1970 to date broadens our thinking and helps us to integrate new ideas in our trade policy and to give advice to the government," said Nyambega Upendo J., of the Ministry of Agriculture.


Vi member again hosts national launch of UNCTAD's WIR




Vi member again hosts national launch of UNCTAD's WIR
For the second consecutive year, Vi university member coordinator, Malick Sané, of Cheikh Anta Diop University, launched UNCTAD's flagship publication, the World Investment Report (WIR) in Senegal. This year's WIR, "Investing in a Low-carbon Economy," was presented July 22 at the United Nations Information Centre in Dakar.

"Big firms must be led to investing 'clean'," Sané said during a well-attended press conference. "Sure, it won't be easy, but with the political will, Africa can achieve it.

Sané, together with Aly Mbaye, Dean of the Faculty of Economics and Management, also visited UNCTAD the week of September 27 to discuss Vi activities with his university to be funded through the Government of Finland. The university expressed interest in strengthening three courses of their international trade Master's programme -- those on commodities, data analysis and foreign direct investment -- and requested Vi support in the form of teaching materials, professional development workshops for lecturers and fellowships at UNCTAD.

Sané and Mbaye also met with their ambassador, the director of the WTO's Institute for Training and Technical Cooperation, the director of the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies and representatives of the University of Applied Sciences of Western Switzerland. The intention of the university, the only holder of the WTO Chair among the Least Developed Countries, is to further the profile of its trade teaching and research, both in the country and the region, by establishing a specialized trade policy institute. In this context, they are trying to combine support from different organizations to enhance their capacity in this area.

TDA training for Uruguay

Government of Spain

Vi Uruguayan member gets training on trade policy analysis
The Virtual Institute, with funding from the Government of Spain, organized a workshop on trade data analysis for docents of the International Economics Master's Program of the Universidad de la República (UdelaR) July 12-16.

Delivered by Marco Fugazza, of UNCTAD's Division on International Trade in Goods and Services, and Commodities, the 20-hour workshop covered trade policy instruments and the implications for trade of membership in the World Trade Organization and of participation in Regional Trade Agreements.

"I really enjoyed teaching the course at dECON," Fugazza said. "The participants were excellent and have very good academic potential."

As a follow-up to the workshop, the trainees were evaluated on their new knowledge by applying the learned skills to the estimation of a gravity model. Fugazza reports a sound success -- all assignments scored above 90 percent.

"I must underline the very high quality of the participants and their sincere interest in the topic," he said. "Their involvement was irreproachable."

Videoconference for Brazilian member on World Investment Report 2010

Low-carbon economies, FDI, topics of Brazil videoconference
Nicole Moussa (pictured, right), of UNCTAD's Division on Investment and Enterprise, gave an overview of last year's global and Latin American Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) flows and trends in investment in low-carbon economies during a videoconference presenting the latest World Investment Report (WIR). The conference, conducted in Spanish, was organized for Vi Brazilian core member, the University of Campinas, September 28.

"In 2009 global FDI inflows declined a further 37 percent -- $ 1.1 trillion -- due primarily to continued weakness in the global cross-border mergers and acquisitions' (M&A) market," Moussa said. "Flows began to bottom out in the latter half of 2009 and a modest but uneven recovery (FDI) was witnessed in the first half of 2010. In the short term, this sparks some cautious optimism for FDI prospects and for a full recovery further on."

In Latin America FDI inflows decreased by 36 percent in all the main subregions, and cross-border M&As collapsed, reaching negative values. Countries strengthened their investment regulatory framework while instituting policies of liberalization and promotion of FDI. Inflows are expected to recover this year, and outflows are rebounding strongly as the region's Transnational Corporations go global, after many years of being regionally orientated.

To conclude the presentation, which included an update on investment flows into low-carbon economies, Moussa presented the WIR's recommendations, which call for specific national policies to elaborate and apply low-carbon strategies, and financial and technological support at the international level for the benefit of developing countries.


Videoconference for Russian members on Technology Innovation Report 2010

Vi Russian members link with UNCTAD to discuss TIR
Approximately 60 students and professors from three Russian universities participated in a videoconference held September 30 to discuss the findings of UNCTAD's Technology and Innovation Report (TIR) 2010, the first in a new series published by the Division on Technology and Logistics (DTL), home of the Virtual Institute. Two representatives from the Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation in Geneva contributed to the event by providing comments linking the topic of the report to their country.

The report, "Enhancing Food Security in Africa Through Science, Technology and Innovation," was presented by DTL's Angel Gonzalez-Sanz to an audience from the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO), St. Petersburg State University and the North-West Academy of Public Administration (NWAPA).

The TIR points to innovation as a way to help Africa pull out of the agricultural productivity stagnation that has caused serious problems of food insecurity and a downturn in many of the continents' economies.

"One of the main challenges we have identified...is that there is a "disconnect" between the needs of farmers and the kind of research that is taking place," Gonzalez-Sanz said. "Local research priorities have to be built into agricultural programmes."

He went on to advocate that governments move beyond funding pure scientific activity to funding technology and innovation, which concerns the productive implementation of scientific advances, to benefit small farmers in developing countries.

Chinese students take part in Vi study tour

Chinese students participate in first Vi study tour
One hundred percent of the 23 students participating in the first Vi study tour for core Chinese member, the University of International Business and Economics (UIBE), gave a "thumbs up" to the varied programme presented by UNCTAD and other Geneva-based international organizations September 27 to October 1.

"The topics presented are really hot today," several of them said.

The study tour included presentations by high-level UNCTAD experts on topics arising from the Trade and Development Report, trade facilitation, foreign direct investment, corporate social responsibility and relations between Africa and China. The group also had the opportunity to visit the Permanent Mission of China, the World Trade Organization, the International Trade Centre and the World Intellectual Property Organization, and learn more about their work and its links to their country.

The students also participated in a simulation exercise on trade negotiations where they carried out consultations relating to trade in the banking sector with support from UNCTAD's Liping Zhang, of the Division on International Trade in Goods and Services, and Commodities.

"We got so much information and experience about communication, negotiation and financial systems that we can't learn from textbooks," a student said.


Keith Nurse, Director, Shridath Ramphal Centre

Vi teaching materials support member workshop
Vi's core member, the University of the West Indies' Shridath Ramphal Centre (SRC) for International Trade law, Policy and Services, held a workshop on "Trade and Innovation Policy in Small States," June 28 - July 3 in Barbados.

The goal was "to strengthen the capacity of governmental and non-governmental agencies and their staff to analyze trade and industrial data and scenarios, formulate strategic options to inform policy making and to implement effective trade and innovation policies," said Keith Nurse, Director of the SRC.

The Virtual Institute's training materials on the Transfer of Technology, as well as the localization developed by the University of the West Indies, became part of the "required reading" in preparation of the workshop. Vi multimedia teaching resources, "the case for Science, Technology and Innovation Policies in the Caribbean" and "Transfer of technology: Bridging the gap" were also made available to the participants, along with copies of the just-released UNCTAD Technology and Innovation Report 2010.

"This helped to fast-track the workshop and introduce an online component to the process," Nurse said. "The publications and the transfer of technology materials were very useful and well-received."

For more information, visit the event's website.

Call for papers FTU

Vietnam member announces conference and call for papers
Vi Vietnamese core member, the Foreign Trade University, invites members of the Vi network to submit proposals for papers to be presented at its international conference on "Finance and Development," which will be held in Hanoi on November 15, as part of FTU's 50th anniversary celebration.

The conference will provide a forum for the presentation and exchange of research results and practical experiences across a wide range of research topics. Papers examining the international financial system stability including the fragility of commercial banking, financial intermediaries, central banking and international financial policy institutions are welcome.

Proposals containing title and abstract (max. 100 words) must be submitted by October 15 to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Final papers (in PDF and Word formats) must be received by 31 October 2010.

Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú

Peru member announces second edition of Master's
Vi core member, Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú, will soon launch the second edition of its Master's in Biotrade and Sustainable Development, and welcomes the participation of network members.

The multidisciplinary programme is based on the articulation of economic, social and environmental aspects as inseparable parts of sustainable development.

PUCP's Vi member coordinator, Alan Fairlie, says the university is interested in staff and student exchanges, as well as visiting professors to teach modules within the courses. In addition, it looks forward to opportunities for joint research and seminars in this area.


Vi members' joint research presented at WTO
Members from Brazil and Argentina presented the preliminary results of a Vi joint project on the Southern Common Market during a session on South-South trade of the World Trade Organization's Public Forum held September 17 in Geneva.

Umberto Celli, of the University of Sao Paulo, and Juliana Peixoto Batista, of the Latin American School of Social Sciences (FLACSO), were at hand to discuss their paper, which analyzes the expansion of South-South trade agreements and its consequences on the trading system in Latin America. Their paper, "MERCOSUR in South-South agreements: In the middle of two models of regionalism," examines the regional integration process of the regional organization from the trade liberalization phase in the 90's to the present neo-developmental phase. The legal framework for the management of asymmetries is also described to better understand the challenges of MERCOSUR.



UNCTAD Course on Key International Economic Issues

UNCTAD flagship course accepting applications - Deadline November 12
Vi African members may apply to participate in the UNCTAD Course on Key International Economic Issues to be held in Cairo, Egypt, January 30 to February 17, 2011. The course, traditionally aimed at government officials, has in the past few years benefited from the synergies built between Vi academics and participating policymakers.

Drawing on UNCTAD's technical cooperation experience and analytical work, the course will discuss the links between trade, investment, finance and development. The Economic Commission for Africa, as well as regional and national experts, will contribute a local perspective to the issues addressed in the course. Simultaneous translation from English to French will be provided.

UNCTAD will cover the cost of accommodation and provide an allowance to cover meals and miscellaneous expenses. Air travel will be provided for participants from Least Developed Countries.

Candidates must be endorsed by their government or university through their country's permanent mission in Geneva.

DAAD/HTW/Vi project

University of Jordan

DAAD/HTW/Vi network project workshop to be held in Jordan
Vi core member, the University of Jordan, in cooperation with the DAAD Partnership on Economic Development Studies on Money, Finance and Trade, will hold a three-day workshop for members of the HTW/DAAD/Vi network project November 2-4 at its Faculty of Business Administration.

The workshop will gather representatives from the 12 universities involved in the capacity-building project led by Vi core German member, the University of Applied Sciences - Berlin (HTW). Participants will take a comparative approach to the myriad of trade policies existing in developing countries in order to further the debate on the relationship between trade and development.

For more information, visit the project's website.

Russian affiliate's energy conference set for October

Russian affiliate's energy conference set for October 14-15
The Saint Petersburg State University of Economics and Finance (SPbSUEF) will hold its third international conference "Energetika XXI: Economy, policy, ecology," October 14-15 in Saint Petersburg, Russia.

This year's conference, "Post-Crisis Energy: Economic Effectiveness and Geopolitical Constraints," aims to provide a forum for representatives from government, science, education and business establishments to discuss and elaborate strategies for the creation and support of power-efficient activity in the Russian Federation and Eurasia.

Vi teaching material on Trade and Poverty

Updated Vi Trade and Poverty material newly published
The newly updated Virtual Institute teaching material on Trade and Poverty has just been published, and will be part of this December's package of publications for Vi member libraries.

The material introduces the conceptual linkages between trade and poverty, as well as the data requirements, advantages and problems of various methodological approaches. Moreover, it goes beyond theories, analytical methodologies and pure academic analysis, to encourage local researchers to translate their knowledge and research into applied and relevant inputs for policymaking at the local, national and regional levels.

The material may be downloaded from the Vi website exclusively by university members.

Vi logo

Government of Finland

New Trade Negotiations teaching material now online
The Vi, through funding of the Government of Finland for the benefit of LDCs, has developed a module which aims at providing students, as future negotiators, with the necessary substantive and practical tools to understand the international trading system, define a negotiating strategy, and conduct negotiations. The material was developed at the request of Vi's Tanzanian core member, the University of Dar es Salaam Business School.

The module provides an overview of negotiation theory, examines the patterns of collaborative and competitive strategies, and emphasizes the importance of developing a concrete or presumed alternative to the negotiation. It reviews the structure, process, rules and principles of the multilateral trade negotiations, including an overview of the WTO system and strategies for dealing with both fixed and flexible rules. The third chapter describes the current state of play of multilateral negotiations and puts forward various policy options and negotiating tools available to developing countries, including concrete steps that can be taken by negotiators to improve the negotiating position of their country in bilateral, regional and multilateral fora.

The material is complemented by discussion questions and references on the topic and an annex outlining a state-of-play in each one of the main negotiating issues dealt with at multilateral level -- agriculture, non-agricultural market access (NAMA) negotiations, services, environmental issues, and trade-related intellectual property rights (TRIPS).

The material may be downloaded from the Vi website exclusively by university members.

Vi logo

Government of Finland

Updated French version of Commodities material now available
Last summer, the Vi, in cooperation with core Senegalese member, Cheikh Anta Diop University, undertook the update of the French version of the teaching material on the "Economics of Commodities Production and Trade." Now covering data through 2008, the material includes five teaching modules with references and a simulation exercise.

The first module outlines the structure of commodities production, and analyzes its impact on economic growth. The second module provides a conceptual framework for understanding the impact of public policy on commodity markets, describing policies and best practices and summarizing international cooperation efforts that have been undertaken in the field of commodity markets. The International trading system is explained in detail in Module 3 while Module 4 addresses commodity market access requirements faced by developing countries. The final module focuses on structured project and trade finance and its instruments, price risk issues, and the tools available to manage these risks.

Included in the update are the localized versions of modules 2 (national policy) and 4 (market access), contributed by the university in 2007.

The material may be downloaded from the Vi website exclusively by university members.

Vi video resources

New multimedia resources now online
Two hot topics, the environment and information technologies, are the subjects of the Vi's latest multimedia teaching resources.

The first one, "Globalization in the Era of Environmental Crisis," was filmed during the latest UNCTAD Prebisch Lecture. Delivered by Jeffrey Sachs, Director of Columbia University's Earth Institute, the presentation gives an overview of current attempts to minimize climate change impacts and improve economic growth, and suggests a different trajectory for governments to follow.

The second resource features Rémi Lang, of UNCTAD’s Division of Technology and Logistics, as he presents the findings of the Information Economy Report 2009 (IER) during a videoconference with Vi Russian member, the Moscow State Institute of International Relations. In addition to an overview of concepts related to the information economy and of the evolution of the ICT sector before, during and after the financial crisis, Lang shows data that points to a shrinking digital divide and a large penetration of mobile telephony in developing and transition-economy countries; but tempers the good news by bringing up a new challenge: broadband access. 

New videos from PUCP on food security in Latin America Videos from Peruvian member (Spanish)
Vi core member, Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú, has contributed two videos from the conference that gathered more than 100 participants to evaluate the impact of Peru's Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) on the agricultural sector. The conference, held July 15, also presented options for the protection and utilization of biodiversity and transgenic products.

2010 Technology and Innovation Report

UNCTAD World Investment Report 2010
The 20th edition of UNCTAD’s World Investment Report, “Investing in a low-carbon economy,” provides an overview of the global FDI recovery from the economic downturn and its impacts on developing countries.

It also focuses on climate change, and in particular the significant role of transnational corporations (TNCs), which, through their knowledge, cutting-edge technology, and global reach, must necessarily be among the primary actors in the global effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and shift towards a low-carbon economy.

To support global efforts to combat climate change, UNCTAD proposes a global partnership to synergize investment promotion and climate change mitigation and to stimulate low-carbon investment for sustainable growth and development.

?	Economic Development in Africa Report 2010

UNCTAD Trade and Development Report 2010
The UNCTAD Trade and Development Report (TDR) 2010, "Employment, globalization and development," focuses on the need to make employment creation a priority in economic policy.

The report reviews the experience of developing countries with export-oriented growth strategies over the past 30 years, and notes that as not all countries can rely on exports to boost growth and employment, they need, more than ever, to give greater attention to strengthening domestic demand.

The TDR therefore recommends strengthening the macroeconomic policy framework, and of promoting a sustained expansion of domestic demand through increasing mass purchasing power and through spurring fixed investments and technological innovation.
International Trade Centre

Air Services Agreement Projector - http://www.wto.org/asap/index.html
The World Trade Organization has just launched a new analytical tool which displays the characteristics of air transport agreements in terms of relative openness and aviation traffic.

The Air Services Agreement Projector (ASAP) allows the user to select bilateral air services agreements based on various criteria, and chart them on a map which displays the relevant underlying data.

Virtual Institute New Vi website section: Graduate programmes curricula
As we have received many requests from network members who would like to get an idea as to what other universities are offering in terms of postgraduate programmes on trade and development issues, our summer intern, Rachad Nassar, spent some of his time building a new section on the website featuring your programmes.

Each entry, listed by country, contains a short description of the programme, its language, main teaching areas, and entry requirements (where available). More importantly, it links to the university's web page which lists the specific courses required to complete the degree, and provides information about their content.

The section is a work in progress and has been launched with the programmes offered by Vi core members. We are working on adding the affiliate members' programmes and plan to eventually extend our reach to universities outside the network. So, if you know of any interesting programmes out there, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

We hope that in addition to "sharing the wealth" among the members, the section will also serve as a tool to promote your graduate programmes among the more than 2,000 users of the Vi website.

Express yourself.

Vi members speak out
At the Vi, we hear many wonderful things from you, and have found a way to share what you say with the world -- take a look at the quotes on the bottom-left corner of the home page. A new functionality, "What do YOU say?," allows you to tell us about your experience with the programme.

The Virtual Institute welcomes any feedback, both positive and critical, about the Vi Newsletter. Is it clear? Are the links helpful? Do they work? Equally, if there is any aspect of UNCTAD's work that you would like to see reported in the newsletter, please make suggestions and we will try to cover it. We would also welcome any news items from member universities about their current activities. Send all comments and document requests to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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