|Issue #29 - June 2011 - Welcome to the Vi quarterly newsletter|
| 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.
Three new affiliates for the network: Welcome, Colombia and China
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.
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.
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.
Industrial policy Vi workshop trains 31 in Tanzania
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.
South-South teaching: Ethiopia › Tanzania
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.
Uganda workshop examines perspectives for LDCs
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.
Vi Tanzanian members publish training module
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.
| 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.
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.
Colombian member organizes congress based on Vi fellowship work
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.
Students from Russia, West Indies and Tanzania complete Vi study tours
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 holds first videoconference on creative economy
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.
Role of ICTs in combating poverty topic of Vi videoconference for Russian university
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.
| 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.
| 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.
Brazilian and Chinese affiliates establish cooperation
Summer pubs pack on its way
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.
Call for applications from LDCs and sub-Saharan Africa: Vi workshop on trade analysis - Deadline July 15
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.
UNCTAD flagship course accepting applications from Asia and the Pacific - Deadline August 19
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.
International Conference on Globalization and Development: A Developing Countries' Perspective
The conference will take place September 22-23 in Dar es Salaam. Its main theme is "Promoting Trade Competitiveness in Developing Countries."
| >_TEACHING RESOURCES |
Low-carbon, South-South, LDCs: Three new multimedia resources
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.
| 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.
Spain-funded Vi joint research paper on natural resource activities in Latin America e-published
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: Innovative water management technologies for food security and poverty alleviation
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
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 Formation in Financialized Commodity Markets: The Role of Information
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.
Mauritius conference calls for papers - Deadline July 15
Vi team: Welcome, Kevin, Nora is back!
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.
New member coordinator for core member in Brazil
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.
Peruvian Vi coordinator appointed Dean
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.
New book from Ethiopian member
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.
Previous issues are available online.
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