A partnership with academia

Building knowledge for trade and development

Vi Quarterly Newsletter


Issue #30 - September 2011 - Welcome to the Vi quarterly newsletter



Copperbelt University, Zambia





University of Abomey-Calavi, Benin

New core members: Zambia and Benin
Zambia's Copperbelt University and Benin's University of Abomey-Calavi joined the Virtual Institute in July and August, expanding the Vi network coverage to 36 countries.

Copperbelt University (CBU), one of the three public universities in Zambia, offers undergraduate and graduate courses in business administration and graduate courses in economics and economic development. It also has plans to develop a BSc and an MSc in economics which would include a course on natural resources - a topic of particular relevance to the country given its mineral wealth.

CBU's participation in the Vi will be coordinated by John Lungu, Associate Professor at the Department of Business Administration. A holder of a PhD in Economics, he is responsible for the course on economic development. His research interests cover agricultural development, economic diversification, and extractive industries.

The University of Abomey-Calavi (UAC) will participate in the Vi through its recently inaugurated Regional School of International Trade (Haute Ecole Régionale de Commerce International - HERCI)

The school offers two professional Master's programmes in international trade policy, management of international maritime relations, and a research Master's in international trade. Eight lecturers from the university are involved in the delivery of these programmes. They are complemented by five trade professionals, including the former ambassador of Benin in Geneva. HERCI also plans to launch a Bachelor's in international trade, and to gradually develop research on trade-related issues.

UAC's participation in the Vi will be coordinated by Pasteur Akpo, HERCI Director and coordinator of the WTO regional courses for French-speaking Africa. Akpo holds a PhD in Economics and is responsible for courses on macroeconomics, economic analysis, monetary economics and international trade. His research interests cover monetary policy, governance, competitiveness and trade policy - areas in which he also acts as consultant for national and regional bodies and international organizations.


Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP), Brazil





Jigjiga University (JJU), Ethiopia

Two more affiliate members for the Vi
Universities from Brazil and Ethiopia joined the Vi network in July. For those of us into numbers, that puts the total membership at 64 universities from 36 countries -- a major jump from the original five founding universities.

The Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP), the fifth Vi member university from Brazil, is one of the largest Brazilian universities, with recognized achievements in teaching, research and outreach. Along with Vi members, UNICAMP and the University of Sao Paulo, it is one of the three universities in the state of Sao Paulo offering free higher education. It has also established research links with another Vi member in Brazil, the Institute for Applied Economic Research (IPEA).

Enéas Gonçalves de Carvalho, Vi member coordinator at UNESP, holds a PhD in Economics and is responsible for courses on globalization, FDI and international competitiveness, and on economic planning and policy. His recent research focuses on international competitiveness, R&D and the automotive industry, and investment perspectives in Brazil. He is also the Deputy Head of UNESP's graduate programme in economics.

Jigjiga University (JJU), the first affiliate from Ethiopia, offers undergraduate degrees in economics and law, which include courses on development and international economics; natural resources and environmental economics; economics of agriculture and industry; investment opportunities in Ethiopia; international trade law; investment law and intellectual property law. The Faculty of Business and Economics is planning to launch a post-graduate programme in trade policy analysis.

The cooperation with the Vi will be coordinated by Henok Birhanu Asmelash, who holds an LLM, and teaches international trade law and investment law. His research interests include Ethiopia's WTO accession, the country's trade policy - both multilateral and regional - and Special and Differential Treatment.


Makerere University Business School

Government of Finland

MUBS site of Vi workshop on international trade econometrics
The Virtual Institute, with sponsorship from the Government of Finland, organized a workshop on panel data methods applied to international trade for 36 Ugandan lecturers and researchers working in academia and government agencies. The workshop took place at Makerere University Business School in Kampala, August 15-19.

Conducted by Marco Fugazza, of UNCTAD's Division on International Trade in Goods and Services and Commodities, the objective of the workshop was to introduce participants to panel data modelling to analyze international trade. The workshop was highly appreciated by the participants; results from the final evaluation showed that 100 percent of the respondents felt that the workshop had fully met or exceeded their expectations.

The course included sessions on the statistical package Stata®, the gravity model, and on linear static and dynamic models for panel data.

Lecturers in the workshop plan to integrate the new knowledge into their courses and to help them guide students in model specifications and handling data.

"I am working on a paper that requires a panel data analysis approach," said one of the participating researchers. "I will use the skills from the workshop to prepare my data and analyze it for my official work."


UIBE students in Geneva for second study tour

Students from Shanghai participate in Vi study tour


Chinese students in Geneva for study visits
The Vi organized a second study tour for students of core Chinese member, Beijing's University of International Business and Economics (UIBE), September 26-30.

Eighteen sessions on international trade, law, investment and development, with a special focus on China, were presented by UNCTAD experts and Vi partners, the World Trade Organization, the International Trade Centre and the World Intellectual Property Organization. The students also had the opportunity to meet with the Ambassador and delegates of the Permanent Mission of China to the WTO, who shared their experience on trade negotiations.

The programme included a simulation exercise on Foreign Direct Investment prepared by UNCTAD experts, Kalman Kalotay (Division on Investment and Enterprise) and Michael Lim (Division on Technology and Logistics), where the students took on the role of ministry officials providing advice to the president on a foreign company's offer to invest in the country.

"The exercise is fantastic, and we learned a lot after doing the work," said one of the participants. "It’s [an] honour to learn from experts of UNCTAD, there is no better than that," added another.

The Vi also hosted a small delegation from Vi's newest Chinese affiliate member, the Shanghai Institute of Foreign Trade (SIFT), in July, as part of a study tour of Geneva-based international organizations arranged by SIFT's WTO Chair in cooperation with the Permanent Mission of China to the WTO.

The five students and their teacher joined UNCTAD expert and former Vi staff member, Joseph Clements, for an overview of the work of UNCTAD and the WTO. The presentation included the historical background of both organizations and the differences in their mandates, functioning and perspectives on trade.

Heiner Flassbeck presents UNCTAD TDR11 to UNICAMP via videoconference


Latest TDR kicks off new videoconference season
The Vi's fall semester of videoconferences started with a bang on September 26, as Heiner Flassbeck, Director of UNCTAD’s Division on Globalization and Development Strategies and lead author of UNCTAD's flagship publication, the Trade and Development Report (TDR), connected with core Brazilian member, the University of Campinas (UNICAMP).

Having just returned from meetings of the International Monetary Fund, World Bank and G20, Flassbeck was able to bring up-to-the-minute insights into his presentation of the -- sometimes prophetic -- findings of the TDR.


George Gandye, Mesia Ilomo


Swiss project update: Vi Vietnamese member envisages new Master's
The Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) project involving three Vi university members, has inspired Vietnam's Foreign Trade University (FTU) to launch a one-year Master's emulating the programme offered by Vi's Swiss member, the World Trade Institute (WTI).

Led by WTI, the four-year project launched last year, aims to create "an academic network to develop regional competence centers for trade law and policy." The project's activities include the participation of FTU academics in WTI's Master of International Law and Economics (MILE) and its summer academy.

"The courses will be taught in English and focus on legal and economic perspectives in international trade regulation," said Dao Ngoc Tien, Head of FTU's Research and Academic Affairs Department (pictured, second from left). "WTI will help FTU develop and run the programme by sending professors to Vietnam, as well as providing scholarships for PhD, Master's and short course training in WTI."

Cherif Sidi Kane, Vi fellow from Senegal

Vi member launches UNCTAD's WIR 2011 in Senegal
Malick Sané, professor at Cheikh Anta Diop University, for the third year in a row, led the Senegalese launch of UNCTAD's annual World Investment Report (WIR).

This year's WIR reports a drop in foreign direct investment (FDI) in Africa. And, although Senegal's foreign FDI flows increased by US$29 million in 2010, the country did not do nearly as well as others in the continent.

"Investment flows have considerably increased in Ghana," Sané said. "Ghana is practically an emerging economy."

In terms of prospects, Sané expressed some concern. "Senegal is getting ready for elections, and in general investors hold back during pre-election years," he explained. "For 2011, I think the immediate "electoral" effect will put the brakes on investments."

EAFIT inaugurates UNCTAD room

EAFIT inaugurates UNCTAD room
Vi Colombian core member, Universidad EAFIT, has dedicated a conference room equipped with the latest technology to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.

The EAFIT-UNCTAD Hall was inaugurated July 29, at the closure of the UNCTAD Regional Course on Key Issues on the International Economic Agenda for Latin America and the Caribbean held 11-29 July.

"The appointment of this space as the EAFIT-UNCTAD Hall represents the alliance we have with this organization, the support it will continue to provide, and our interest in continuing to host the courses in our university facilities," said Natalia Escobar Pemberthy, faculty member of the Department of International Business and coordinator of the event.


Donation from Spain funds online course scholarships
Spain's Ministry of Trade and Tourism has donated EUR30000 to the Vi, which will allow 30 network members to participate free of charge in the second edition of the Fundación CEDDET/University of Barcelona online course, "Legal instruments of international economic relations and regional cooperation," scheduled for October 10 to December 11.

"It was so difficult to choose only 30 out of the nearly 200 applications from developing-country academics and policymakers, that our Spanish partners have gracefully extended admission to 36 candidates instead," Vi Chief, Vlasta Macku said.

Representing 27 countries, the participants range from university lecturers to think-tank researchers, to diplomats and trade negotiators.

Designed from an interdisciplinary and policy-oriented perspective, the six-module course aims to provide knowledge of the basic elements of international economic law (in particular in trade and trade-related areas) in the form of a “must-have toolbox” for professionals contributing to the attainment of their countries' policy objectives.




Information Economy Report 2011

Vi members to launch UNCTAD flagship report
Vi member universities in Cameroon and Colombia will again this year conduct the national launch of the annual UNCTAD Information Economy Report (IER).

The global launch, scheduled to take place October 19 in multiple countries, will be held at the Université de Yaoundé II in Cameroon, and the Universidad EAFIT in Colombia.

This year's IER is dedicated to the role of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in facilitating the development of the private sector in developing countries.

University of Mauritius

UOM organizes international conference
Vi core member, the University of Mauritius, through its WTO Chair, will hold an international conference titled, "Globalisation at Crossroads: Implications for the Developing World," December 20-21 at Pointe Aux Piments.

The conference aims to provide an international forum for professionals from academia and industry from developing and developed countries to share their research, ideas, and perspectives on international trade and investment.

Makerere University Business School

Uganda localization on competitiveness
Under the leadership of Timothy Esemu, Vi Ugandan member, the Makerere University Business School, has contributed to the network a local adaptation of the Vi teaching material on competitiveness and development.

Available exclusively to Vi university members, the localization covers the four modules of the material, and includes discussion questions and exercises applied to various sectors in Uganda as well as a review of the literature on the subject. 

Vi video resources

Five new multimedia teaching resources now online
This quarter's Vi multimedia teaching resources bring you nine presentations by top international experts in commodities, science and technology, public debt and information and communication technologies.

Developments and challenges in commodity markets, filmed during an UNCTAD expert meeting on commodities and development, gives an overview of the current situation and outlook for agricultural and extractive commodities. In part 1 of the package, Samuel Gayi, Head of UNCTAD's Special Unit on Commodities, looks at factors affecting price increases of agricultural commodities. In part 2, his colleague, Alexei Mojarov, reports on the state of metals and minerals markets, the index registering the sharpest price hike in 2009.

How much is too much? Price volatility and developing countries is a three-part resource featuring the perspectives of three international experts: Maximo Torero, Director of the International Food Policy Research Institute; Eugenio Díaz Bonilla, of the Inter-American Development Bank; and Bernard Valluis, of the Association Nationale de La Meunerie Française. Their presentations were also part of the UNCTAD expert meeting on commodities.

In STI policies and development - A primer, filmed during a Vi study tour for students of the University of the West Indies, Michael Lim, of UNCTAD's Division on Technology and Logistics (DTL), introduces concepts and policy implications related to science, technology and innovation (STI).

DTL expert, Scarlett Fondeur Gil, takes a look at new possibilities for Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) to help improve the livelihoods of people in low-income countries in Combating poverty with ICTs.

Reality check: The truth about public debt, is a two-part lecture where Ugo Panizza, of UNCTAD's Division on Globalization and Development Strategies, reveals the facts of life of public debt: why countries borrow, why they sometimes borrow too much, why they get into debt crises, and what can be done to avoid debt "explosions."



Trade and Development Report 2011

Trade and Development Report 2011
This issue of the TDR, subtitled "Post crisis policy challenges in the world economy," reports a slow-down in the recovery from the crisis, and condemns fiscal austerity, proposing that developed countries aim at continued stimulation of their economies rather than prematurely cutting government spending to "regain the confidence of the financial markets."

In addressing the vulnerability of developing countries to fluctuations in commodity prices -- the financialization of the commodities market -- the TDR proposes tighter international regulation of financial investors, and suggests that market surveillance authorities could be mandated to intervene directly.

Water for food

World Investment Report 2011
In addition to its exhaustive review of foreign direct investment trends and prospects, the 2011 World Investment Report (WIR) analyzes the relevance of non-equity modes (NEMs) of international production as a tool for developing countries to improve their international competitiveness and benefit from international trade.

Transnational corporations increasingly engage in NEMs, such as contract manufacturing, contract farming, services outsourcing, franchising and licensing. According to the WIR, NEMs generated over US$2 trillion in sales in 2010, much of it in developing countries -- policymakers in these countries may want to leverage this resource. The report points out that maximizing development benefits from NEMs requires policy action to: a) embed NEM policies in overall development strategies; b) build domestic productive capacities; c) facilitate and promote NEMs; and d) address related negative effects.


Economic Development in Africa Report 2011
The 2011 edition of UNCTAD's Africa report looks at the industrial development in the region, analyzing past attempts and current initiatives to promote and increase industrialization, particularly in the manufacturing sector. In view of the opportunities for growth, employment and poverty reduction that industrial development can trigger, it is argued that a new industrial policy for Africa is needed to facilitate structural change.

Based on the diagnosis of African countries' industrialization patterns, the report proposes concrete steps for the design of a strategy that aims at sustainable industrial development, taking into account the differences in endowments, political and environmental conditions across countries.

Price formulation

World Trade Report 2011
This year's World Trade Report (WTR) looks at ever-increasing Preferential Trade Agreements (PTAs) and their implications for the multilateral trading system.

The report begins by analyzing the history and current trends in PTAs, followed by a discussion of their political and economic causes and consequences. It then looks at their policy content, comparing their commitments to those undertaken in WTO agreements, looking at synergies and conflicts, and proposing ways of making PTAs and the multilateral trading system more coherent.

World Economic Situation and Prospects World Economic Situation and Prospects 2011
This joint publication by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development and the five United Nations regional commissions analyzes the reasons behind the slower growth of developed economies after the crisis.

The UN report says that the lack of employment growth is the weakest link of the economic recovery; another factor is the volatility in currency markets which generates further macroeconomic uncertainty.

The report concludes by proposing a number of measures for sustainable recovery, which include: additional fiscal stimulus; more concrete measures to promote job growth; and deeper restructuring of financial regulations.

International Trade Centre ITC market analysis tools free for developing countries
The International Trade Centre's Market Analysis Tools portal provides free access to data on trade, market access conditions, foreign direct investment and private voluntary standards for users in developing countries. Trade Map, for example, provides quarterly and monthly trade data from more than 80 countries.

Our ITC partners are offering to provide university libraries in Least Developed Countries and Small Island Developing States with trade data from 2005-2009 on CD-ROM. For information, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Higher School of Economics, Russia

Russian Vi member calls for papers
Vi core Russian member has issued a call for papers for its "XIII International Academic Conference on Economic and Social Development," set for April 3-5. The themes are "The strategy of socio-economic development of Russia until 2020 (Strategy 2020)" and "Economics, Law and Confidence." The plenary sessions, including selected honorary papers, sessions and round tables, will be devoted to the special issues of the Conference.

Participants from the CIS and Eastern Europe countries invited to present their papers may apply for a grant from the Moscow Office of the World Bank until March 1 to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Universidad EAFIT, Medellín, Colombia

EAFIT offers scholarship for Master's to Vi student
Universidad EAFIT in Colombia is opening its doors to the Vi network community by offering free tuition for one student recommended by a member university to participate in its Master's of International Business (MIB) programme.

EAFIT's MIB offers advanced studies in the areas of firm internationalization, international relations, and international conflict management, and an option for a research-oriented study mode responding to an increased demand to train consultants, researchers, and lecturers in international business in Latin America. The duration of the programme is four semesters.

The MIB is designed for graduates of international business undergraduate programs. All courses are offered in English, and students will be required to provide language proficiency certification upon entry. The scholarship will cover tuition fees for the program and for Spanish language classes.  Covering studies beginning in January, 2012, the scholarship will be awarded on a semester-by-semester basis upon satisfactory completion of the previous semester.

Applications and supporting documents must be sent to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by November 11.

Scholarship for Chile Master's

Scholarship available for Master's in Chile
Vi core member, the University of Chile, through the World Trade Organization's Chairs Programme, is offering a partial scholarship to participate in its Master's in Estrategia Internacional y Política Comercial (EIPC) -- International Strategy and Trade Policy -- conducted in collaboration with the WTO and Vi's German and Canadian members.

The EIPC aims to strengthen professional capacity of trade policymakers by providing conceptual and practical tools that encourage understanding based on analysis of the complexities of international economic negotiations.

Candidates for the six-trimester programme conducted in Spanish must also demonstrate competence in reading and comprehension of English.

The scholarship covers 50 percent of course fees. Applications may be submitted to the university or by e-mailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by November 20.



Martha Hailu, Addis Ababa University

Ethiopian Vi member publishes fellowship research
Martha Belete Hailu, of Addis Ababa University (AAU), recently published the research she began as a Vi fellow, as a chapter of "Acceding to the WTO from a Least-Developed Country Perspective: The Case of Ethiopia," co-authored by Markus Krajewski and AAU colleague and former Vi fellow, Fikremarkos Merso Birhanu.

In Consequences of agricultural trade liberalization: A food insecure country’s perspective, Hailu takes a look at challenges the country may face during its accession process and the compatibility of some of its agricultural trade instruments with WTO rules. The chapter draws on the experience of two recently acceded Least Developed Countries, Cambodia and Nepal, to propose measures addressing accession issues in light of Ethiopia's food security concern.

Danilo Torres, Universidad Jorge Tadeo Lozano

Colombian Vi fellow's study now online
Danilo Torres Reina, of Universidad Jorge Tadeo Lozano in Colombia, has received his university's approval to extend the research he began during his Vi fellowship. His paper, Situación Reciente De Las Exportaciones Industriales De Colombia (1990-2009), assesses Colombian industrial exports in the last two decades.

"This document has allowed us to formulate a proposal for a far-reaching study that includes a second chapter on the situation of industrial exports to 10 countries in Latin America, the United States, the European Union and Korea, and a third chapter analyzing two or three sectors of successful Colombian exports," Torres Reina said. "From this work, we hope to extract lessons for public policy."

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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