A partnership with academia

Building knowledge for trade and development

Vi Quarterly Newsletter


Issue #29 - June 2011 - Welcome to the Vi quarterly newsletter



Metropolitan University Prague (MUP)


Czech university expands Vi network to 34 countries
The Metropolitan University Prague (MUP) joined the Virtual Institute in April, bringing the number of core members -- and countries represented in the Vi -- to 34.

MUP's membership is due to the efforts of the Permanent Mission of the Czech Republic in Geneva, which took interest in the Vi's work, and saw the potential benefit for the country in participating in the Vi.

One of the first private universities established in the country, MUP offers graduate and undergraduate degrees in international relations, business, trade and law. It also offers PhD programmes in international relations and European studies, as well as in international and regional relations in industrial property.

MUP's research is conducted through seven research centers, whose topics include development economics, international economic relations, developing countries, industrial property and Middle Eastern studies.

Tereza Nemeckova, head of the Centre for Studies of International Economic Relations has been designated MUP's Vi member coordinator. Nemeckova holds a PhD in European studies, specializing in development and developing countries, the main areas of her research. She teaches courses on development economics, international economic relations, and social business in developing countries.


Fundación Universitaria Konrad Lorenz (FUKL)


Universidad EAN



Shanghai Institute of Foreign Trade (SIFT)

Three new affiliates for the network: Welcome, Colombia and China
Two more universities from Colombia -- the Vi's largest affiliate network -- and a third university from China joined the Vi this quarter.

Fundación Universitaria Konrad Lorenz (FUKL) of Bogotá, a private, non-profit institution offering a Bachelor's degree in international business management, was admitted in April.

FUKL's research focuses on structural transformation and competitiveness. The university is currently working on research projects related to: knowledge and innovation systems in the food and textile industry; the impact of trade liberalization on the development of micro-regions from the sustainable development perspective; and the construction of a minimum tariff protection indicator for Colombia.

Ricardo Buitrago Rubiano, Dean of the School of Business, will coordinate the university's involvement in the Vi.

Universidad EAN, also of Bogotá, offers undergraduate and graduate programmes in business administration, international business, economics, and financial, logistics and technology management. Its graduate programme in business administration has been awarded an international accreditation from the Association of Collegiate Business Schools.

Research activities at EAN cover four main areas: entrepreneurship and management; science, innovation and technology; communication, politics and culture (including social responsibility); and contemporary pedagogy and didactics. The university has also developed research on free trade agreements and on foreign direct investment.

Luis Olmedo Figueroa Delgado, Director of the International Business Program, will serve as Vi member coordinator.

The Shanghai Institute of Foreign Trade (SIFT), one of the 15 holders of the World Trade Organization's Chairs, joined the Vi in June.

Founded in 1960, SIFT delivers a range of undergraduate and graduate programmes in international trade, finance, international law and international business. Its research areas include: WTO rules, trade relations between China and other countries, foreign trade policy, foreign investment and competitiveness.

Vi activities will be channeled through the School of WTO Research and Education, and coordinated by its dean, Lei Zhang.


Participants of Vi workshop on industrial policy, Tanzania

Government of Finland

Industrial policy Vi workshop trains 31 in Tanzania
Master's students -- primarily trade professionals in the private and public sectors -- and lecturers of Tanzanian Vi member, the University of Dar es Salaam Business School (UDBS), participated in a Vi workshop on industrial policy funded by the Government of Finland, May 17-20.

Milasoa Cherel-Robson and Bineswaree Bolaky, of UNCTAD's Division for Africa, Least Developed Countries and Special Programmes, exposed participants to the basics of industrial policy, and helped build the capacity of lecturers who will teach courses in the Master of International Trade (MIT) and Master of International Business (MIB) programmes.

The workshop presented the theoretical underpinnings of the role of industrialization in economic development, particularly in Africa, highlighting challenges and opportunities for the continent. Participants also examined the international and regional contexts, and built practical skills in data collection and analysis useful to inform policymaking.

"The issue of integration of industrial policies and economic integration in the world and Tanzania as well gives an input on how to handle good industrial policy and the ongoing East African Community economic integration process," said Master's student, Nico Ombeni, who works at the Mpwapwa District Council.

Another participant commented on the workshop's approach involving "(c)ombining data, theory and literature review for dealing with issues at hand. The most interesting example was the success stories and lessons learned from other countries. This gives room for wider thought, like selecting the measures between vertical, horizontal and functional, which was an eye opener to me."

The workshop culminated in an exercise where participants produced a draft industrial policy document for Tanzania.

"...It is difficult to image how challenging it would have been for UDBS to deliver the MIT and MIB up to quality in the absence of Vi support," said George Gandye, Vi member coordinator at UDBS.


Participants at the Vi-sponsored course on intellectual property

Government of Finland

South-South teaching: Ethiopia › Tanzania
Former Vi fellow, Fikremarkos Merso Birhanu, of Vi's Ethiopian member, Addis Ababa University, conducted a series of lectures on intellectual property rights (IPRs) for 27 students of the Master of International Trade (MIT) programme at Tanzanian Vi member, the University of Dar es Salaam, May 23-27. This South-South teaching activity was made possible through funding from the Government of Finland.

The lectures presented the existing legal framework for the protection of IPRs, including related international legal and institutional aspects.

"International Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights is one of the elective courses in our MIT programme," said George Gandye, Tanzanian Vi member coordinator. "While the country and university realized the increasing importance of this topic right from the inception of the MIT programme, we had not been able to deliver it to our past graduates. We therefore extend our sincere thanks to the UNCTAD Virtual Institute and the donor community for enabling this course to be delivered in 2011. It is a bonus to our prospective MIT graduates."

"The students work with various government ministries, departments and agencies of the United Republic of Tanzania. This means the spillover effect is very strong in government policymaking processes," Gandye added.

Participants of workshop on LDC economic perspectives, Uganda

Government of Finland

Uganda workshop examines perspectives for LDCs
More than 80 academics, government officials, students and entrepreneurs debated economic challenges and opportunities for Least Developed Countries during a workshop organized by Vi members, HTW Berlin and Makerere University Business School (MUBS), along with Uganda's Economic Policy Research Centre (EPRC), in Kampala May 24-26. The Vi, with funding from the Government of Finland, arranged for contributions from two experts, international consultant Mehdi Shafaeddin, and Rolf Traeger, of UNCTAD's Division for Africa, Least Developed Countries and Special Programmes.

The workshop included presentations in the areas of macroeconomics, trade, development and financial economics, with Traeger, discussing the topic of international development assistance for LDCs.

A final round table discussion centered on options and ideas for improved trade policy, regional integration and better macroeconomic management in LDCs.

In addition to providing a platform for policymakers and scholars in the South to interact with academia from both the South and the North, the workshop created links among universities and policy research centers in Uganda, who share an interest in undertaking economic studies on money, finance, trade and development.


George Gandye, Mesia Ilomo

Government of Finland

Vi Tanzanian members publish training module
George Gandye (pictured, left) and Mesia Ilomo, of Vi core member, the University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, jointly developed a training module on their country's trade policy and foreign trade performance. The project was funded by the Government of Finland.

Former Vi fellows, Gandye and Ilomo also completed internships at two government ministries last year, which gave them valuable first-hand knowledge to integrate into their training material.

The training module presents an empirical assessment of foreign trade policy and performance in Tanzania since 2003, and the analysis undertaken indicates that there is a strong relationship between trade and the country's economic growth.

The training module was peer reviewed by Pierguiseppe Fortunato, of UNCTAD's Unit on Economic Cooperation and Integration Among Developing Countries, and Marco Fugazza, of the UNCTAD Division on International Trade in Goods, Services and Commodities.

The material is available online to Vi university members.

Cherif Sidi Kane, Vi fellow from Senegal







Jean-Pierre Tchanou, Vi fellow from Cameroon




Henri Atangoa Ondoa, Vi fellow from Cameroon


First round of Vi fellowship programme hosts African researchers
Vi granted three Vi fellowships to researchers from Senegal and Cameroon during this second quarter, thanks to funding from the Government of Finland.

Cherif Sidi Kane, of Senegal's Vi member, Cheikh Anta Diop University (UCAD), with the support of his mentors, Kalman Kalotay and Astrit Sulstarova, of UNCTAD's Division on Investment and Enterprise, studied the effect of sociopolitical risk on foreign direct investment (FDI) flows in West Africa.

Based on the three variables showing the strongest influence in countries of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) -- credibility of the state, rule of law and corruption -- Kane's analysis shows that Guinea and Côte d'Ivoire, countries with higher risk, attract little FDI, as expected. Paradoxically, Cape Verde, Ghana and Senegal, countries with the lowest risk, attract moderate levels of FDI, and Nigeria, despite being in the group of countries with higher risk, is successful in attracting investment.

During a presentation of his preliminary findings, UNCTAD experts and Mamour Niang, first counsellor of Senegal's permanent mission, discussed other economic factors that may affect the flow of foreign direct investment. Kalotay, for example, said that UNCTAD studies on FDI determinants proved that for manufacturing activities, sociopolitical stability was more important, while it was less so for natural resource-based activities. Niang commented that although the socio-political environment is an important factor for attracting FDI flows, the expectation of profit may be even more important, as in the case of Nigeria.

Kane, who plans to share the final results with government officials in Senegal, acknowledged the contribution of the fellowship to his professional development and career advancement, as publication of this research will play a part as he prepares his "concours d'aggrégation" - the highest professor certification in the French university system.

Jean-Pierre Tchanou, from Vi Cameroonian member, the University of Yaoundé II, focused on Central African competition policy during his research stay at UNCTAD April 18 to May 27.

With the support of his mentor, Yves Kenfack, of UNCTAD's Division on International Trade in Goods and Services and Commodities (DITC), Tchanou undertook an analysis of the relationship between the quality of competition policy institutions and the attainment of the objectives of these policies within countries in the Economic Community of Central African States (CEMAC).

Tchanou began by developing criteria to evaluate the national context and institutional infrastructure of fledgling institutions in CEMAC countries. The idea is to provide a weighted assessment tool that will provide an efficiency "rating" to the competition policy institutions in the region.

The work undertaken during his fellowship, part of his preparation for the concours d'aggrégation, will likewise serve to complement Tchanou's frequent consultations with government officials. While at UNCTAD, he discussed the assessment tool with Amadou Dieng, Director of Competition at the Economic Community of West African States (WAEMU).

Henri Atangana Ondoa, also from the University of Yaoundé II, analyzed factors affecting industrialization in Africa, under the guidance of his mentor, Rolf Traeger, of UNCTAD's Division for Africa, Least Developed Countries and Special Programmes.

Based on data for the period of 1970-2009, and supported by econometric analysis, Atangana's work highlights a negative correlation between natural resources wealth and the contribution of manufacturing industries to a country's gross domestic product.

In addition, "(I)nternational trade is both an opportunity and a threat to African industry," he said. "This is an opportunity because some economies in Africa, rich in natural resources, can sell their mining and oil products to developed countries, and then import industrial production equipment from them. But it is also a serious threat because the manufacturing industries are less competitive in Africa, and face competition from Asian products." Consequently, Atangana emphasized the importance of establishing mechanisms to channel benefits from extractive industries into the manufacturing sector.

Pablo Moreno, former Vi fellow, Colombia

Colombian member organizes congress based on Vi fellowship work
Pablo Moreno Alemay, of affiliate member, Universidad de la Sabana, organized the First Congress on Derivatives Markets on Agricultural Commodities in Colombia based on the findings of the research he began while a Vi fellow last year.

The June 1 Congress gathered 200 of Colombia's experts in the field around the idea of establishing a derivatives market on agricultural commodities in Colombia.

Moreno's research, also presented at the congress, asked a sample of financial and agro experts in Colombia to rate factors that might explain why this specific market is not a reality in the country. Nearly 75 percent (the highest percentage) of respondents considered that a lack of awareness was a primordial factor to explain why these financial instruments are not offered in Colombia. Based on the findings, the congress constituted a good step to work on this limitation.

Russian members complete Vi study tour








Students from the University of West Indies take part in Vi study tour




Students from the University of Dar es Salaam take part in Vi study tours

Students from Russia, West Indies and Tanzania complete Vi study tours
Nearly 100 students from Vi member universities in Russia, Barbados and Tanzania took part in tailor-made Vi study tour programmes this quarter.

The "season" kicked off in April with the fourth study tour for Russian members -- the largest Vi study tour to date, involving 57 students from five universities.

"The study tour is very precious for us and supports our university programme," writes Anna Abramova, Vi member coordinator at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO). "The agenda of the study tour 2011 was very interesting and intensive, with coverage of all the main current issues in world trade."

International experts from UNCTAD, the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the International Trade Centre (ITC), as well as representatives from the country's Permanent Mission, led sessions designed to cover key issues for the country and region. Topics included oil and gas production and trade, commodities, foreign direct investment, Russia's accession to the WTO, and market analysis.

"This study tour was really exciting!" wrote a student from the State University Higher School of Economics (HSE). "I've got a deeper acquaintance with the UNCTAD and WTO structures, learnt about the real work of diplomats (in the Russian Permanent Mission), and understood that I really love what I study and that I'm on the right path!"

The second study tour was held May 16-27 for 10 students of the Master's in International Trade Policy programme of the University of the West Indies' (UWI) Shridath Ramphal Centre.

The group gave high marks to the programme, which included topics such as sustainable development, climate change and the creative economy.

"The choice of subject matter was excellent and especially relevant and important in the context of the Caribbean region," one student said.

The study tour, the seventh for UWI, ended with a roundtable discussion on multilateral trade negotiations with the ambassadors of Barbados and Jamaica, as well as representatives from Trinidad and Tobago and the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS).

In June, 27 students from the professional Master's in International Trade of Vi's Tanzanian member, the University of Dar-es-Salaam Business School (UDBS), attended lectures addressing the economic development of African countries.

The students were exposed to the research and policy recommendations of UNCTAD experts, along with those from the WTO and ITC. Lucas Saronga, Minister Plenipotentiary at the Permanent Mission of Tanzania in Geneva, also made the time to discuss with the students the role of the mission in trade negotiations in Geneva.

"The sessions added to my understanding of trade issues and the examples were relevant, as they matter to my country," said Nebart Mwapwele.

The accompanying professors, George Gandye and Mesia Ilomo, both said that the UNCTAD Virtual Institute has been instrumental in building capacity for LDCs professionals. The organization and successful undertaking of the study tour -- the third for UDBS -- is a bonus to their student's professional career, they added.

Vi videoconference on Creative Economy Report

Vi holds first videoconference on creative economy
Twenty students of affiliate university member, the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO), participated in the Vi's first videoconference on UNCTAD's Creative Economy Report (CER), April 28.

Presented by Edna dos Santos-Duisenberg, of the Division on International Trade in Goods and Services and Commodities, the CER 2010 examines creative industries, which produce and distribute goods and services derived from creative ideas and intellectual capital.

According to the report, even throughout the global recession, globalization and connectivity have facilitated a contemporary lifestyle rooted in the creative economy -- "...people continued to go to cinemas and museums, listen to music, watch videos and TV shows, play video games, etc."

"The demand for creative products," dos Santos-Duisenberg pointed out, "emanates from two main groups: the younger generation, with teenagers transferring creative content and music via mobile phones, to elderly or retired people who have more time to devote to culture, leisure and entertainment."

The CER reports that all regions and economic country groups benefitted from the creative economy, with exports worth USD592 billion in 2008. While developed countries raked up 90 percent for audiovisuals and music, 80 percent for publishing and media, and 75 percent for visual arts, developing countries have 65 percent of the market for art crafts, and are gaining market shares in new media and design -- nearly 50 percent in 2008.

Vi videoconference on the Information Economy Report

Role of ICTs in combating poverty topic of Vi videoconference for Russian university
Sixty students and teachers from Vi’s Russian affiliate member, the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO), "virtually" participated in a discussion on the potential of information and communication technologies (ICTs) as an avenue toward poverty alleviation.

The videoconference, based on the latest UNCTAD Information Economy Report (IER), was presented by Scarlett Fondeur Gil, of the Division of Technology and Logistics, May 12.

"Poor people often lack access to vital information," Fondeur Gil said. "They may need weather forecasts, market price information, information on what pesticides and fertilizers to use, and where to find jobs. Without such information, people are more isolated and more vulnerable. This is where ICTs come in."

About a quarter of the population in the Least Developed Countries have mobile phone subscriptions, and are using their phones not only for voice and text messaging, but also to access the Internet. And, in countries where banking services are lacking or hard to reach, mobile money services allow people without bank accounts to make person-to-person payments, transfer money and make prepaid purchases. As of early 2010, there were 61 known mobile-money services in 35 countries, of which 13 LDCs.

The IER encourages enterprises to exploit the potential of ICTs, and to do so in a manner that emphasizes affordability for the consumer. The model to follow is that of South Asia, with India leading the pack with the most affordable mobile user charges, generating revenues through low tariffs and high volume.

University of Barcelona's IELPO programme Scholarship offer: Master's programme in Spain - Deadline July 20
Vi Spanish core member, the University of Barcelona (UB), through its International Chair WTO/Regional Integration, is offering Vi members the opportunity to obtain a scholarship to study in the 2011-2012 edition of UB's Master of Law in International Law and Policy (IELPO).

The scholarship covers tuition and fees of EUR19000 and provides a EUR4000 grant to help defray costs of travel and stay.

Deadline for applications is July 20.

Azerbaijan State Economic University Azerbaijani Vi member site of WTO Centre
The Azerbaijan State Economic University has been chosen by the World Trade Organization to host a WTO Reference Centre, a dedicated repository of documentation outfitted with state-of-the-art technology to facilitate access to the organization's online documentation and learning opportunities. The Centre was officially opened on April 6 in Baku.

ASEU's Vi member coordinator, Shahin Bayramov, has been named WTO Reference Centre Manager.

Collaboration between Brazil and China

Brazilian and Chinese affiliates establish cooperation
Orlando da Silva, Vi member coordinator at Brazil's Universidade Federal de Viçosa, and former Vi fellow, visited the Shanghai University of Finance and Economics March 5-12. While in Shanghai he delivered a seminar on non-tariff measures (NTM) for faculty members and graduate students at the Department of International Trade. Da Silva and faculty members from the School of International Business Administration also discussed plans to join in research projects on how both countries are dealing with the NTM issues.

Publications on their way to member's libraries

Summer pubs pack on its way
Twice a year, Vi member universities receive a package containing the latest trade publications from UNCTAD. This summer, nearly 2000 publications, destined to enrich university libraries, will be distributed among the 65 network members.

In addition to UNCTAD's Creative Economy Report 2010, which describes the latest trends in goods derived from creative ideas, members will also receive the Information Economy Report 2010, which analyzes the role of ICTs in combating poverty. Also in the package are country-specific materials, such as the investment policy reviews for Guatemala and Belarus, and the National Services Policy Review for Uganda.

The shipment also contains a DVD of Vi multimedia teaching materials, developed from presentations made by senior UNCTAD economists and experts from other international organizations. These teaching materials address several hot topics, such as the trade and development implications of climate change, whether LDCs can achieve the Millennium Development Goals, and the issue of sovereign debt and debt crises.



World Trade Organization, UNCTAD Virtual Institute, International Trade Centre

Government of Finland

Call for applications from LDCs and sub-Saharan Africa: Vi workshop on trade analysis - Deadline July 15
The UNCTAD Virtual Institute and the Division on International Trade in Goods and Services and Commodities, the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the International Trade Centre (ITC), with funding from the Government of Finland, are organizing a professional development workshop on tools and methods for trade and trade policy analysis for researchers and university lecturers from the least developed countries and low-income sub-Saharan African countries. The workshop will take place in Geneva, October 10-14.

The objective of the workshop is to familiarize participants with sources of trade and trade policy data and the methodologies used for trade and trade policy analysis; to discuss ways of integrating such analysis into university programmes and participants' own research; and to identify ways of working with policymakers to facilitate the use of research and analysis in policymaking.

Each module, delivered by experts from the three organizations, will combine lectures, discussions and hands-on sessions, similarly to a previous Vi workshop held in Geneva in 2006.

Applicants must hold a Master's degree in economics, be familiar with quantitative methods, have working knowledge of econometrics software, and excellent knowledge of English. Applications must be received by July 15.


UNCTAD flagship course accepting applications from Asia and the Pacific - Deadline August 19
Vi members from the Asia-Pacific region are encouraged to apply to participate in the 23rd edition of the course on Key Issues on the International Economic Agenda, to be held in Singapore, November 14 to December 2.

The course addresses the issue of economic development and how different external and internal factors can contribute to the attainment of national development goals of a country. The course is delivered by resource persons from UNCTAD, in cooperation with the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific and national experts from the host country. The teaching method includes presentations, group discussions, exercises and a final simulation of a WTO negotiation.

The course is primarily targeted at policymakers from governments but the Vi is making a systematic effort to include academia. The reason is that university teachers are well placed to subsequently use the ideas and materials from the course in their own teaching, hence increase its long-term impact in the countries.

Candidates must be endorsed by their government through the diplomatic mission in Geneva. Applications must be received no later than August 19.

University of Dar es Salaam Business School, Tanzania

International Conference on Globalization and Development: A Developing Countries' Perspective
Vi Tanzanian core member, the University of Dar es Salaam Business School, is organizing an international conference to provide a forum for academics and practitioners to critically address globalization issues, and come up with suggestions that will lead to solutions that can help to improve the future of developing countries.

The conference will take place September 22-23 in Dar es Salaam. Its main theme is "Promoting Trade Competitiveness in Developing Countries."

Vi video resources

Low-carbon, South-South, LDCs: Three new multimedia resources
Based on the latest UNCTAD World Investment Report (WIR), Investing in a low-carbon economy, features English and Spanish multimedia presentations from videoconferences organized for Vi member universities in Brazil and Russia. Led by Nicole Moussa and Astrit Sulstarova, of UNCTAD’s Division on Investment and Enterprise (DIAE), the discussion looks at the findings of the WIR in terms of trends and outlook for FDI flows, and dedicates special attention to the opportunities -- and responsibilities -- of transnational corporations in the fight against the consequences of climate change.

Presented by former Vi colleague, Pierguiseppe Fortunato, currently of UNCTAD’s Unit on Economic Cooperation and Integration among Developing Countries, The rise of the South: New paths to development, analyzes the reasons behind the shift of world wealth, the balance of growth in the South, and the role of Brazil, Russia, China and India (BRIC) as the "bricks" to build the new world order.

Governance, development and LDCs, a two-part presentation by Charles Gore, Head of the Research and Policy Analysis Branch of UNCTAD's Division for Africa, LDCs and Special Programmes, discusses the nature of good development governance within the LDCs and pathways for building developmental State capabilities, and the nature of a new international development architecture for LDCs which can enable rather than constrain development and poverty reduction in the LDCs.

DAAD partnership Teaching tools - A digital handbook for academic lecturers
Developed by the DAAD partnership, led by German Vi member, HTW Berlin - School of Applied Sciences, this teaching tool is geared toward improving teaching styles in graduate courses in economics and business.  The material should assist beginners in teaching, and help more experienced staff to consider anew their way of teaching.

Virtual Institute

Government of Spain

Spain-funded Vi joint research paper on natural resource activities in Latin America e-published
Eduardo Bianchi and Laura Uzquiza, of Vi Argentinian member, the Latin American School of Social Sciences, and Alan Fairlie, of Universidad Pontificia Católica del Perú, have written a joint paper that examines current opportunities in Latin America's resource-based economies for the development of domestic production, value chains and technological linkages.

The research project, funded by the government of Spain, describes the so-called "Southern pattern" of trade specialization, which was shaped by the trade liberalization policies of the '90s and is characterized by the export of commodities and natural resource-intensive manufactures.

The authors present two case studies, Peru's mining, and Argentina's wooden furniture and blueberry sectors, to exemplify resource-based production and the development of productive chains, and discuss how these can have a positive impact on employment, growth and poverty reduction.

Water for food

Water for Food: Innovative water management technologies for food security and poverty alleviation
The fourth issue of UNCTAD's "Current Studies on Science, Technology and Innovation" addresses the water-food-poverty nexus in agricultural development. Modern irrigation systems have allowed for increased food production, but population growth and climate change are generating concerns about food and water security, and in particular the availability of water for farming.

The paper looks at current water requirements in developing countries' agriculture, and presents innovative water management technologies that could ensure growing more food (and energy) crops with fewer resources. The difficulty, especially for LDCs, to access irrigation technologies is analyzed, and recommendations are given on how local adaptation of technology and innovation can be supported in these countries.


Regional Monetary Cooperation and Growth-enhancing Policies: The New Challenges for Latin America and the Caribbean
This study, prepared by the UNCTAD Division on Globalization and Development (GDS), focuses on the role of monetary cooperation in the context of a suitable development strategy for Latin America.

While the importance of growth-oriented macroeconomic policies cannot be left out, the authors emphasize the relevance of monetary policy in protecting the region against external shocks and eliminating the risk of internal anti-competitive practices.

The study examines the regional cooperation process under the SUCRE initiative (encompassing six countries), which allows its members to use the "Sucre" unit for intraregional transactions and to become more independent from the US dollar. The study highlights current achievements and looks at the long-term goal of further economic cohesion in the region.

Price formulation

Price Formation in Financialized Commodity Markets: The Role of Information
Also prepared by UNCTAD's GDS, this study focuses on how information flows are essential in the setting of prices in futures markets. The rising volume of financial investment in commodity markets has considerably affected prices of goods such as staple foods, encouraging traders to make decisions based on the behavior of other agents, a phenomenon known as "intentional herding." This is contrary to earlier business cycles, where commodity prices were influenced by physical realities such as supply and demand, stocks and inventories.

The study recommends a number of measures to improve market functioning through better information flows. These include more reliable, accurate and timely data in physical commodity markets, more openness and communication between markets and tighter regulation of financial players. It also proposes a transaction tax system to reduce the activities of commodity market investors.

University of Mauritius

Mauritius conference calls for papers - Deadline July 15
Vi core member, the University of Mauritius, through its WTO Chair, invites conceptual or empirical research presentations, and/or country context case studies on the effects of globalization on the sociocultural, economic and technological dimensions of developing countries. The papers will contribute to the International Conference on International Trade and Investment "Globalisation at Crossroads: Implications for the Developing World," to be held at Pointe Aux Piments, Mauritius, 20-21 December 2011. Abstracts must be submitted no later than July 15.



Kevin Jutliah, Nora Circosta

Vi team: Welcome, Kevin, Nora is back!
Datta (Kevin) Jutliah (pictured, left), joined the Vi team in April. A national of Mauritius, he holds an MSc degree in Distributed Systems Engineering and has worked as a programmer, software developer/engineer and web developer. His most recent assignment has been with the United Nations Register of Damage in Vienna. At the Vi, he will be responsible for technical aspects of Vi website development, the organization of videoconferences, and will assist in the production of multimedia resources. Kevin will also work on the development of state-of-the-art technology to strengthen Vi services related to the dissemination of UNCTAD's research.

Nora Circosta, who joined the Vi team in March 2010, is back with the Virtual Institute after a 3-month break spent in Bangkok. Nora has managed the publication process for various Vi teaching materials and studies and is currently preparing two new publications. She has also coordinated joint research projects, and in 2010 organized study tours for the Chinese and Russian Vi member universities.

André Biancareli, Antonio Carlos Macedo e Silva

New member coordinator for core member in Brazil
Antonio Carlos Macedo e Silva (pictured, right) is transferring his duties as Vi member coordinator at University of Campinas (UNICAMP) to André Martins Biancareli, former Vi fellow, and co-researcher in the Vi joint project on regional integration in Latin America.

Biancareli is a lecturer of International Economics and Macroeconomics at the Institute of Economics at UNICAMP and a researcher at the university's Center for Economic Trends and Policy Research Economics and Politics. A holder of a PhD, he has been studying issues related to financial globalization and regional monetary/financial cooperation. During the winter 2009/2010, Biancareli worked at UNCTAD's Division on Globalization and Development Strategies as a member of the research team of the Programme of Technical Cooperation for the Design and Consolidation of a New Regional Financial Arrangement.

Alan Fairlie, PUCP Vi coordinator

Peruvian Vi coordinator appointed Dean
Alan Fairlie Reinoso, Vi member coordinator at Universidad Pontificia Católica del Perú, was named Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences at PUCP for the period of 2011-2014, in May. He will oversee the departments of economics, political sciences, sociology and anthropology.

Fairlie, a former Vi fellow, has been involved in two Vi joint research projects on Latin America, and coordinated the 2008 launch of the UNCTAD Information Economy Report in Peru.

"I believe this will open more opportunities to continue promoting the activities of the Virtual Institute from here," Fairlie said.

Fikremarkos Merso, Vi Ethiopian member

New book from Ethiopian member
Fikremarkos Merso Birhanu, of Vi's Ethiopian member, Addis Ababa University, has co-authored, with Markus Krajewski, "Acceding to the WTO from a Least-Developed Country Perspective: The Case of Ethiopia."

The book, to be released July 31, addresses the challenges of accession from the perspective of Ethiopia, which has been negotiating its accession to the WTO since 2003. The topics include the effects of WTO law on agriculture, intellectual property rights, financial market regulation, and regional integration in Africa.

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