A partnership with academia

Building knowledge for trade and development

Vi Quarterly Newsletter


Issue #28 - March 2011 - Welcome to the Vi quarterly newsletter



Government of Norway

Oil, gas, mining Vi workshop energizes teaching and research in Africa
Academics participating in the Vi natural resources workshop held in Tanzania last July report success in applying the knowledge acquired on oil, gas and minerals to their teaching, research, and policy-related activities. The workshop was part of the Vi project funded by the Government of Norway.

In Mozambique, for example, the materials from the workshop were incorporated into an upcoming Master's course on Mineral Resources Management. In Zambia, they enhanced a course on economic development, and in Togo they served as the basis for lectures in French for students in the Master's of Economics programme.

The workshop also sparked the publication of a paper on mining investment in Zimbabwe and four Vi mentored research projects currently underway on gold in Mali, phosphates in Togo, mining industries in Guinea, and oil and gas in Uganda. The projects are being developed in cooperation with the UNCTAD Special Unit on Commodities.

Ideas from the workshop are also making their way into policymaking, as one participant has been appointed to the board that will plan and manage monitoring and evaluation of Uganda's national oil and gas policy, while another plans to co-author a paper on the mining industry in Zimbabwe with the Chief Government Mining Engineer and the Technical Advisor of the Chamber of Mines. Similar synergies with policymakers are also taking place in Togo, Zambia and Guinea.


Some of the participants of the Vi workshop on International Investment Agreements

Government of Finland

Vi workshop on investment supports Ethiopia's curriculum on investment
The Vi organized a workshop on international investment agreements at Ethiopian core member, Addis Ababa University (AAU), for 14 lecturers from 13 Ethiopian universities. The workshop, part of the Finland Vi project for the Least Developed Countries, was conducted by UNCTAD expert, Claudia Salgado, of the Division on Investment and Enterprise.

The goal of the workshop was to support Ethiopian universities in meeting the requirements of a newly adopted nationwide curriculum for legal education, which expects undergraduate students of investment law to have an understanding of the international framework for foreign investment, issues which are also covered in AAU School of Law's graduate program.

"Currently there are more than 20 law schools in the country implementing the new curriculum for undergraduate law students," writes former Vi fellow from AAU, Martha Belete Hailu. "However, many of these schools do not have an academic staff member having a specialization in the area of investment, making the teaching-learning process a little difficult. It was with the view to address this gap that the AAU School of Law requested the cooperation of the Vi to hold a workshop on International investment agreements for instructors teaching investment law."

In addition to acquiring new knowledge about the general concepts related to International Investment Agreements and Bilateral Investment Treaties (BIT), participants learned about the flexibility of investment treaties, and the importance of drafting the agreements carefully.

"I had little knowledge of difficulties that may arise when countries have different BITs with different content," said one of the participants.

The workshop involved interactive discussions of international investment agreements' provisions and practical arbitration cases. Participants particularly appreciated discussions on the experience of countries with cases brought under the auspices of the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) Convention, which Ethiopia may ratify.

"The methods of delivery and the issues presented enhanced the level of my understanding," commented another participant. "It should not stop here, as it helps the Ethiopian policymakers."

Nearly 90 percent of the participants plan to include the content of the workshop into their courses, while 75 percent voiced their intention to dedicate their research to the topic; about 40 percent said they would integrate the knowledge into their consultation work with policymakers.


Russian universities join videoconference on UNCTAD's TDR 2010

Russian universities join UNCTAD for videoconference on TDR
Six Russian universities participated in a videoconference presentation of "Employment, Globalization and Development," UNCTAD's latest Trade and Development Report (TDR). 

The TDR 2010 reports on the budding global economic recovery, which, presenter Heiner Flassbeck (pictured, middle), Director of UNCTAD's Division on Globalization and Development Strategies, attributed to the coordinated action among the world's major advanced and emerging economies -- the Group of Twenty (G20).

Joining Flassbeck in Geneva were Dmitry Lyakishev, Counsellor of the Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation, and Vi Chief, Vlasta Macku. In Russia, approximately 90 students, lecturers and researchers participated in the videoconference, which was simultaneously hosted by Vi member universities, the Higher School of Economics in Moscow (HSE), and St. Petersburg State University of Economics and Finance (SPbSUEF).


Researchers in India and Russia complete joint research on carbon leakage

Japan Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Japan-funded joint research paper on carbon leakage now online
Meeta Mehra Keswani, Aparna Sawhney and Rashmi Rastogi, of Vi's Indian member, Jawaharlal Nehru University in India, along with Natalia Piskulova and Anna Abramova, of Vi's Russian member, the Moscow State Institute of International Relations, recently completed work on a paper exploring the linkages between international trade and carbon leakage.

The Vi joint research project, funded by the Government of Japan, "clearly explains how to quantify CO2 emissions that are embedded in a country's trade, demonstrating in quantitative terms the net carbon balance in bilateral trade flows between India and Russia and their main trading partners," said one of the paper's peer reviewers, Robert Hamwey, of UNCTAD's Trade, Environment, Climate Change and Sustainable Development Branch.

The paper, also peer reviewed by Piergiuseppe Fortunato, of UNCTAD's Unit on Economic Cooperation and Integration among Developing Countries, includes recommendations for national and international policies to reduce future emissions, and facilitate the negotiating process for signing a new international climate agreement.

Alena Petrushkevich (left) and Michele Barbieri

Members from Belarus and Italy publish joint research
Alena Petrushkevich of Vi core member, Belarus State Economic University, and Michele Barbieri, of Italian member, Università Commerciale Luigi Bocconi, have just published a joint article based on their research on foreign investment in Belarus. The project first saw light during the 2009 Vi membership meeting, where the two researchers met.

The article examines the policy and legal frameworks governing foreign direct investments (FDI) in Belarus and their consistency with commitments undertaken by the country through bilateral trade agreements.


St. Petersburg State University

Russian member offers scholarship for summer programme - Deadline April 30
Virtual Institute affiliate member, St. Petersburg State University, is again this year offering one partial scholarship for a student of a Vi university to participate in its three-week (July 3-20) summer course on Russian business.

The program, to be conducted in English, aims to provide advanced knowledge and expertise on the contemporary Russian business environment and the latest strategies and practices necessary to successfully "do business" in the country.

Deadline for applications is April 30.




UNCTAD flagship course accepting applications from LAC region - Deadline May 13
The next edition of the UNCTAD flagship course on Key Issues on the International Economic Agenda for Latin America and the Caribbean will take place July 11-29 in Colombia. Hosting it for the second time in a row is Virtual Institute's Colombian core member, Universidad EAFIT in Medellín.

The course addresses the issue of economic development and how different external and internal factors can contribute to the attainment of national development goals. Delivered by experts from UNCTAD, the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin American and the Caribbean, and the host country, the course includes presentations, group discussions, exercises and a final simulation of a WTO trade negotiation.

The course is primarily targeted at government policymakers, and applications must be submitted through the applicant's Permanent Mission in Geneva no later than May 13.

For more information, download the notification (English) (Español).

DAAD Partnership

HTW/DAAD/Vi project to hold third workshop in May
The DAAD partnership, led by Vi member university, HTW Berlin, and involving nine other network members, will hold a workshop on economic perspectives of Least Developed Countries in Kampala, Uganda, May 24-26.

The goal of the workshop is to provide a forum for analysis and discussion of LDCs’ economic trends, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa, and their likely future development. It will reunite scholars, policymakers and students, with their insights from both the developed and developing world, on the economic perspectives of LDCs.


UNCTAD Virtual Institute

Government of Spain

New localization on Regional Trade Agreements now available
Three academics from two Vi member universities in Latin America collaborated on a localization of the Vi teaching material on Regional Trade Agreements by adding a module proposing a methodological approach to the analysis of regional integration schemes.

Developed by Pedro Moncarz, of Argentina's Universidad Nacional de Córdoba, and Manuel Flores and Marcel Vaillant, of Uruguay's Universidad de la República, the new module analyzes the Southern Common Market (MERCOSUR), with the aim of providing a practical example, applicable to other South-South integration processes.

The module introduces widely used indices, variables and concepts, and develops a methodological framework for analyzing the effects of regional trade preferences on imports and exports of member countries.

The module is available exclusively to Vi university members.

Vi video resources

Three new multimedia resources now online
Three hot topics are the focus of the Vi's latest multimedia teaching resources: post-crisis economic recovery, technology for food security, and the Millenium Development Goals.

In Enhancing Food Security in Africa Through Science, Technology and Innovation, UNCTAD's Angel Gonzalez-Sanz, presents the findings of the 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. The report 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.

The two-video package, Meeting the MDGs in the LDCs, traces the origins of the MDGs and ponders social, economic and governance questions arising from efforts to achieve them. It goes on to track the progress toward attaining the MDGs globally and in the LDCs, presents the outlook after the financial crisis, and reviews lessons learned. Leading the presentations are UNCTAD experts, Richard Kozul-Wright, Chief of the Unit on Economic Cooperation and Integration among Developing Countries, and Giovanni Valensisi, of the Division for Africa, Least Developed Countries and Special Programmes.

The last resource of the trimester, TDR 2010: Budding economic recovery still fragile, features Heiner Flassbeck, Director of UNCTAD's Division on Globalization and Development Strategies, with a presentation based on the latest Trade and Development Report. While acknowledging inroads into recovery by some emerging economies, Flassbeck addresses global imbalances, and warns that many elements of the financial picture, particularly in developed countries, resemble pre-crisis patterns.


Virtual Institute
Government of Spain

Vi joint project on MERCOSUR now online
Four researchers from universities in Argentina and Brazil have collaborated on a paper analyzing MERCOSUR. Part of the Vi project funded by the Government of Spain, the project involved Umberto Celli and Marcus Salles of affiliate member, University of Sao Paulo, Brazil, and Diana Tussie and Juliana Peixoto, of the Latin American School of Social Sciences (FLACSO), Argentina.

The analysis looks at MERCOSUR as the case of a regional integration process in transition between two periods: the 1990s neoliberal phase (which concentrated solely on trade liberalization) and the present neo-developmental phase, which now includes structural policies as a new pillar for integration. Findings indicate that the pull of each contrasting mindset leads to tensions in both the internal and external agendas.

The financial and economic crisis of 2008-2009 and developing countries

The Financial and Economic Crisis of 2008-2009 and Developing Countries
Six research papers developed by academics from Vi member universities in Brazil, Chile, Germany and India feature prominently in this new publication focusing on the impact of the crisis on developing countries.

The 12-paper collection, published by UNCTAD and Vi German member, HTW Berlin, examines how countries in the South were affected, and how they responded. It also reflects on the lessons the South should take away from the experience, and on the policy agenda necessary for supporting the interests of developing countries, the least developed countries, and emerging-market economies.

UNCTAD Creative Economy Report Creative Economy Report 2010
Subtitled, "A feasible development option," this UNCTAD report presents an updated perspective of the United Nations as a whole on creativity, knowledge and access to information as powerful engines driving economic growth and promoting development in a globalizing world. It provides empirical evidence that the creative industries are among the most dynamic emerging sectors in world trade. It also shows that the interface among creativity, culture, economics and technology, as expressed in the ability to create and circulate intellectual capital, has the potential to generate income, jobs and export earnings while at the same time contributing to social inclusion, cultural diversity and human development. The report addresses the challenge of assessing the creative economy with the objective of informing policymaking by outlining the conceptual, institutional and policy frameworks in which this economy can flourish.
UNCTAD Review of Maritime Transport

UNCTAD Review of Maritime Transport 2010
The UNCTAD flagship report on maritime transport, an annual publication prepared by the Division on Technology and Logistics, closely monitors developments affecting world seaborne trade, freight rates, ports, surface transport, and logistics services, as well as trends in ship ownership and control and fleet age, tonnage supply, and productivity. In addition to a chapter covering legal and regulatory developments, which include a protocol on the 1996 Hazardous and Noxious Substances Convention, this year's report highlights the Asia and Pacific region.

According to the report, international seaborne trade contracted by 4.5 percent in 2009, a decline that put seaborne trade at below 2007 levels. It had climbed to an all-time high in 2008. And although a global recovery is currently under way, it is uneven, slower than the recoveries that have followed previous recessions, and subject to numerous uncertainties and to the fragile global economic conditions.
World Economic Situation and Prospects 2011

World Economic Situation and Prospects 2011
A joint publication of the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, UNCTAD and the five United Nations regional commissions, the report provides an overview of recent global economic performance and short-term prospects for the world economy, and of some key global economic policy and development issues. One of its purposes is to serve as a point of reference for discussions on economic, social and related issues taking place in various United Nations entities during the year.

After a year of fragile and uneven recovery, global economic growth started to decelerate in mid-2010, according to the report. The slowdown is expected to continue into 2011 and 2012 as weaknesses in major developed economies continue to provide a drag on the global recovery and pose risks for world economic stability in the coming years.


Universidad EAFIT

Academic positions available in Colombia - Deadline April 25
The Department of International Business of Vi's Colombian core member, Universidad EAFIT, Medellín, has issued a call for candidatures to fill academic posts set to begin in July.

EAFIT was founded in 1960 as Colombia's first business school and since then it has grown into a university with more than 22,000 students in 17 undergraduate, 82 graduate and 2 PhD programs.

Candidates should have received their PhD or be near completion in a business-related field and have a demonstrated track record of publications and teaching in the areas of international business. Excellent English communication skills are a must and Spanish language abilities a plus. The recruited academic will teach international business courses in English at the undergraduate and graduate levels, and undertake research in international business. Publication in top-tier journals is expected and supported.

Potential candidates should e-mail a CV and letter of interest describing research and teaching interests by April 25, to: Assoc. Prof. Maria Alejandra Gonzalez-Perez (PhD), Head of Department of International Business, Universidad EAFIT, Carrera 49 No. 7 Sur 50, Medellin, Colombia, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

African Journal of Agricultural Research

African agricultural journal seeks contributions
The African Journal of Agricultural Research (AJAR) is an open access journal that welcomes solicited and unsolicited articles, as well as reviews in English, in all areas of agriculture.

All articles published in AJAR are peer-reviewed and published approximately one to two months after acceptance. Manuscripts must be submitted as e-mail attachments to the Editorial Office at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Inter-American Development Bank (IDB)

Call for papers on regionalism - Deadline April 20
The Euro-Latin Network on Integration and Trade (ELSNIT) of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), is now accepting proposals for papers examining the causes, consequences, and perspectives of regionalism along the macroeconomic, microeconomic, institutional, and legal dimensions.

All researchers associated with a European- or Latin American/Caribbean-based academic or research institution are eligible to submit papers. Submissions of detailed abstracts or nearly completed papers will be accepted until April 20.

Revista de Negocios Internacionales - EAFIT

Call for articles from Colombian Vi member's journal
Universidad EAFIT's Revista de Negocios Internacionales (International Business Journal), which recently published the Spanish version of the Vi joint research project on corporate social responsibility, welcomes articles in English and Spanish on topics related to international business in Latin America.

The journal aims to contribute to the production of new knowledge in the academic community, in terms of the development of theory and its application to the progress of international business (as a discipline and a profession).

For submissions, contact the Editor-in-chief: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (PhD), International Business Department, Universidad EAFIT, Colombia.

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