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Building knowledge for trade and development

Vi Quarterly Newsletter


Issue #39 - December 2013 - Welcome to the Vi quarterly newsletter

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First Vi meeting since 2009 highlights members' research

Members' research focus of Vi seminar
The first Vi network meeting in four years gathered researchers from nine countries in Geneva to give and receive feedback on their trade-related research in progress October 9-11. The seminar was also an opportunity to tighten links and plan joint academic ventures.

The 19 participants from Barbados, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, France, Jordan, Morocco, the Russian Federation and South Africa presented 12 working papers on a wide range of topics reflecting the myriad national interests of the 50 countries represented in the Vi membership.

Funding their own attendance, participating academics received feedback from their peers and international experts from UNCTAD, the International Labour Organization and the Advisory Centre on WTO Law. The papers sought to answer policy relevant questions like: How does financial globalization affect countries with peripheral currencies, such as Brazil? Is Russia suffering from Dutch disease and how can it diversify its economy? Does the future of Jordan and Colombia lie in services exports?

"As the paper I presented is work in progress, the suggestions from the peer review were very useful for future steps," one of the researchers said.

"The seminar allowed me to re-establish links with Vi members and discuss possible areas of cooperation with some other universities I did not have the contact with before," commented another participant.

Participants also valued the participation of representatives from the permanent missions of Barbados, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Jordan, France, Morocco and the Russian Federation, who joined in for sessions presenting research related to their countries.

As a Brazilian academic put it: "A member of the Brazilian permanent mission in Geneva, in charge of exchange-rates related issues in the WTO, came to attend the presentation. A promising contact was established."

  Vi fellows from Senegal, Togo and Nigeria look into effects of regional trade agreement and agricultural commodity prices on their countries
Fatou Gueye, Vi fellow from core Senegalese member, Cheikh Anta Diop University

Three Vi member academics from Africa were granted Vi fellowships to investigate policy-relevant topics of interest to their countries during the fall semester. Part of the Vi capacity-building project for the least developed countries and sub-Saharan Africa, the six-week fellowships were funded by the Government of Finland.

Fatou Gueye (pictured, second from right), of Vi core Senegalese member, of Cheikh Anta Diop University, conducted econometric analysis of the impact on her country of the proposed trade agreement between Morocco and the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU). Her fellowship took place September 9 to October 4.

Mentoring from Marco Fugazza, of UNCTAD’s Division on International Trade in Goods and Services, and Commodities, and Vi economist, Cristian Ugarte, helped Fatou apply the Computable General Equilibrium Model combined with micro-simulations to examine the impact of the agreement on the main macroeconomic variables of the country.

The first female Vi fellow from Senegal, and the third from Africa, she gained the appreciation of Mamour Niang (pictured, first from left), First Counsellor at the Permanent Mission of Senegal, as she outlined the preliminary findings of research.

"This research is very concrete and of great interest to policymakers," Niang said. "Such evaluations should precede the conclusion of all agreements the country may sign."

Vi fellow, Anani Nourredine Mensah, of Vi core Togolese member, Université de Lomé II

Vi fellow, Anani Nourredine Mensah (pictured, left), Deputy Dean at the Faculty of Economics and Management of Vi core Togolese member, Université de Lomé II, researched the effects of international cotton prices on his country’s producers September 16 - October 25.

Finding that prices paid to local cotton producers were at times only half of those in the international market, Mensah, with support from Ugarte, developed a methodology to quantify the welfare impact that would arise if producers, many of them poor rural households, are paid prices in line with increasing international prices. Such estimations could provide information relevant for the government's poverty reduction objectives.

"This topic is very important for the country," said Dieudonné Petchezi (pictured, right), First Secretary at the Permanent Mission of Togo, during Mensah's final fellowship presentation.

Vi fellow, Moses Oduh, of Vi core member, the University of Nigeria

Government of Finland

Finally, Moses Oduh (pictured, second from right), of Vi core member, the University of Nigeria, worked on a paper titled "The welfare effects of oil price transmission to domestic agricultural commodities in Nigeria" October 14 to November 22.

Mentored by Patrick Osakwe (pictured, second from left), Chief of UNCTAD's Africa Section, and Ugarte (pictured, far left), Oduh was able to establish that increases in international crude price cause an increase in domestic food prices. As the domestic production base is incapable of absorbing the revenue from the oil sector, this revenue adds to the monetary base and, hence, causes an increase in domestic prices, he explained.

The welfare impact varies between rural and urban households, male and female-headed households, and households in the six agro- and geo-political zones of the country, he added. Based on these results, the paper proposes that monetary policy instruments - aiming to reduce money supply - should be used to counteract the effects of oil-induced domestic price increases in Nigeria.

Martin Eze (pictured, far right), Senior Counsellor at the Permanent Mission of Nigeria to the United Nations, met with Oduh and his mentors, and expressed his appreciation for the opportunity given the Nigerian researcher to participate in the Vi fellowship programme and to undertake research on this particular topic.

"This training will impact positively on the country, in particular in the context of the post-2015 MDG development,” Eze said.

Forty Mauritian academics, government and private sector representatives participated in a Vi national workshop on trade in services organized with funding from the Government of Finland for core member, the University of Mauritius, October 16-18.


More than 100 gain new skills through Vi national workshops in Africa
Funding from the Government of Finland and the One UN Fund for Tanzania made possible Vi national workshops in Mauritius, Senegal and Tanzania this quarter.

The Mauritian workshop, held October 16 - 18, at Vi core member, the University of Mauritius, trained 40 academics, government and private sector representatives on trade in services, a sector gaining a growing share in the country's exports.

Delivered by Martine Julsaint Kidane, of UNCTAD's Division on International Trade in Goods and Services and Commodities, the workshop covered the main concepts related to trade in services, the methods to measure and analyze it, the barriers that constrain its development, and possible avenues for addressing them.

The workshop concluded with a simulation exercise in which the participants worked in groups to prepare policy positions which were then translated into regulatory and negotiating proposals on trade in services for their country.

"The services sector is a new pillar of the economy,” commented one participant. “The most interesting new knowledge I gained was the research and assessment methods for analyzing the services sector."

A participant from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs added, "(f)or me as a policymaker, the simulation exercise on domestic consultations relating to trade in services was very dynamic and useful. It will help us in improving our ways of making consultations."

The Vi, with funding from the Government of Finland, delivered a workshop on international trade analysis for 39 lecturers and students of the graduate programmes in economics and international trade at Vi core Senegalese member, Université Cheikh Anta Diop, November 4-7.

Government of Finland

The Senegal workshop, delivered by Vi economist, Cristian Ugarte, November 4-7, introduced 39 lecturers and students of Vi core member, Université Cheikh Anta Diop, to the use of the Stata statistical software for trade analysis, with a particular focus on the application of the gravity model.

“The subject of my thesis is the impact of the adoption of the ECOWAS Common External Tariff on the economic competitiveness of the region,” said one of the participants. “Before the workshop, I did not know how to quantify this impact. Now with STATA, my problem is solved.”

The workshop combined theoretical presentations with by hands-on exercises and discussions to allow participants to better absorb the subject matter of the workshop.

A group of 25 lecturers, PhD candidates and Master’s students in international trade and international business, honed their skills on the use of the Stata software for trade analysis and the gravity model during a Vi workshop funded by the One UN Fund for Tanzania at Vi core member, University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM) Business School. Delivered by Vi economist, Cristian Ugarte, the training took place December 2-5.

One UN Fund for Tanzania

The last Vi workshop of the year, also delivered by Ugarte, and focusing on trade analysis, took place on the campus of Vi core Tanzanian member, the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM) Business School, December 2-5. The 25 participating lecturers, postgraduate students and policymakers honed their skills on the use of Stata for trade analysis and the gravity model.

"We are very happy to receive this unique kind of training," writes UDSM's Mesia Ilomo. "It is important for the participants, for the students in their academic research work, the policymakers in making effective and efficient use of data, academia in improving the quality of teaching, research and consultancies, and the country at large."

“Our scientific age demands that we provide definitions, measurements and statistics in order to be taken seriously,” said Isidore Minani, PhD candidate at UDSM and Assistant Lecturer at Ruaha University College. “This workshop was not only an empowerment to meet this demand, but also a laser light to the world of trade empirics.”



UNCTAD research reaches 372 in six countries through Vi videoconferences
Investment, Africa and the global economy featured prominently in the nine Vi videoconferences requested by 11 university members in Peru, Kenya, Colombia, South Africa, Belarus and the Russian Federation.

From left to right: Vi Chief, Vlasta Macku, Natalia Guerra, Luz Caballero and Vanessa Ingar

Peru's videoconference, a briefing on the findings of UNCTAD's latest World Investment Report (WIR) by Natalia Guerra (pictured, second from left), of UNCTAD's Division on Investment and Enterprise (DIAE), gathered 40 students and lecturers from Vi core member, Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú, as well as from Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos and Universidad Agraria La Molina.

"There are high expectations in Peru with regard to the potential of investment, both at the regional and the global level," said Luz Caballero (pictured, second from right), Deputy Permanent Representative at the Permanent Mission of Peru.

UNTAD GDS' Alex Izurieta (left) and Vi Chief, Vlasta Macku

Kenyan affiliate member, Moi University, organized a full day around Vi videoconferences based on two UNCTAD flagship reports October 21. Attended by 13 lecturers from the Department of Economics and the director of Moi’s Institute of Open and Distance Learning, the event was organized by the Vi to contribute to the implementation of the university's strategy to use online tools for lifelong learning.

The first conference, featuring the findings and global policy recommendations of UNCTAD's Trade and Development Report (TDR), was delivered by Alex Izurieta (pictured, left), of the Division on Globalization and Development Strategies (GDS).

Banga Rashmi (left) and Vi Chief, Vlasta Macku

The TDR presentation was followed by Rashmi Banga (pictured, left) of the Division for Africa, Least Developed Countries and Special Programmes (ALDC), who introduced the findings of the Economic Development in Africa Report (EDAR) 2013, this year focusing on the role of the private sector in intra-African trade.

Each of the two presentations was followed by a lively discussion on the role of domestic demand and what developing countries can do to boost it; the ways of controlling private sector operations to avoid the need for the public sector to come to their rescue at a high cost for the taxpayer; constraints hampering the development of intra-African trade; and the potential role of the G20 in supporting regional trade, among other topics.

From left to right: Nicole Moussa, Noelia Garcia and Vi Chief, Vlasta Macku

On November 5, the Vi organized another presentation of the WIR, this time in Spanish, for 139 students and professors from Colombian member universities, Universidad EAFIT and Universidad de la Sabana.

Nicole Moussa and Noelia Garcia, of UNCTAD’s DIAE, outlined global and regional foreign direct investment trends and presented the benefits and risks associated with global value chains (GVCs), this year's WIR special theme.

Bineswaree Bolaky (left) and Vi Chief, Vlasta Macku

Back to the subject of Africa, 30 students of business administration at Vi Colombian affiliate member, Universidad EAN, linked with ALDC's Bineswaree Bolaky (pictured, left), for a discussion based on the latest EDAR, November 6.

The so far unexploited potential for trade with Africa has sparked increasing interest in Latin American countries in learning more about the continent.

Then, on November 28, the Vi organized the first videoconference presentation for the six members of the TRADE research team at Vi South African affiliate member, the North-West University.

Mathabo Le Roux, of DIAE, outlined WIR global and regional findings, emphasizing in particular the situation in South Africa and the region

The second Vi videoconference on the TDR gathered 15 lecturers and students from the Faculty of International Relations at Vi core member, Belarus State Economic University (BSEU), at the UNDP office in Minsk December 5.

Findings and simulations of alternative policy scenarios contained in the report were presented by TDR co-author, Diana Barrowclough, with support from statistician colleague, Lyubov Chumakova, both from GDS.

Astrit Sulstarova (left) and Vi Chief, Vlasta Macku

BSEU also joined joined UNCTAD via videoconference October 30 to discuss trends in foreign direct investment with WIR WIR co-author, Astrit Sulstarova, of DIAE.

Twenty-two students and lecturers participated in the presentation, hosted by the UNDP office in Minsk.

Kalman Kalotay (left) and Vi Chief, Vlasta Macku

Investment was also the topic of the final Vi videoconference of the year, held December 12.

This time it was up to DIAE's Kalman Kalotay to present WIR findings to a combined audience of 90 lecturers and students from four Vi member universities in the Russian Federation -- the Moscow State Institute of International Relations, the St. Petersburg State University, the St. Petersburg State University of Economics and Finance and the North-West Institute.


Vi study tours introduce 107 future trade practitioners from three countries to UNCTAD's work
Students from 10 Vi member universities in Colombia, the Russian Federation and Germany made their way to Geneva for tailored training on trade and development topics to complement their studies and guide their future careers.

Students from affiliate member, Universidad Sergio Arboleda in Geneva for Vi study visit

The first student programme of the quarter, held October 8, offered involved 15 Master's students from affiliate Colombian member, Universidad Sergio Arboleda.

The one-day study programme was designed around the findings of UNCTAD’s latest flagship reports: the Trade and Development Report (TDR), the World Investment Report (WIR) and the Information Economy Report (IER).

The day's lectures were delivered by UNCTAD experts, Alex Izurieta, of UNCTAD's Division on Globalization and Development Strategies, Noelia Garcia Nebra, of UNCTAD's Division on Investment and Enterprise, and Scarlett Fondeur Gil, of UNCTAD’s Division on Technology and Logistics.

Colombian students in Geneva for fifth annual Vi study tour

A much larger group of students -- 33 -- arrived in Geneva November 18, for the fifth annual Vi study tour for member universities in Colombia. Representing seven member universities, the group participated in a one-week training programme focusing on trade in services.

Designed in cooperation with UNCTAD's Trade Negotiations and Commercial Diplomacy Branch, the programme included 12 sessions on the concepts related to trade in services, national policies and international negotiations. The presentations were delivered by experts from UNCTAD's divisions on International Trade in Goods and Services, and Commodities (DITC), Technology and Logistics (DTL), and Investment and Enterprise (DIAE). Colleagues from the International Trade Centre (ITC) and the World Trade Organization (WTO) also shared their knowledge with the students.

“Trade in services is a very complex topic,” said one of the participants. “In my opinion, we have not worked enough in Colombia in order to stimulate the market (both domestic and FDI) in the country. Tourism produces large income and we could focus on this sector, taking advantage of the new image of the country after the violent period of the 1990s.”

The students also had the opportunity to meet with Ambassador Gabriel Duque, Deputy Permanent Representative to the WTO, Alfredo Ramos, and Permanent Mission to the UN First Secretary, Juan Camilo Saretzki-Forero, to discuss country-specific policies on trade and services, such as Colombia’s internationalization and participation in global value chains.

Vi Russian affilate students in Geneva for third study visit

The third student activity of the quarter, held at UNCTAD November 22, brought together 19 graduate students for the third annual Vi study visit of affiliate member, the Moscow State Institute of International Relations.

The day’s programme began with a presentation focusing on world economy challenges after the global crisis, delivered by Nicolas Maystre of UNCTAD’s Division on Globalization and Development Strategies (GDS). The discussion then turned to investment, as Kalman Kalotay, of the Division on Investment and Enterprise, covered the basics of foreign direct investment (FDI) with special emphasis on Russian and Eastern European regional trends. Concluding the day’s programme was Piergiuseppe Fortunato, of GDS, whose presentation concentrated on trends in South-South cooperation and the establishment of the BRICS development bank.

German member students in Geneva for Vi study visit

Closing the quarter was the third annual Vi study visit for German Virtual Institute core member, HTW Berlin – University of Applied Sciences, held November 28.

The 40 students and two lecturers heard about UNCTAD’s history, work and key objectives from J?rg Mayer, of the Division on Globalization and Development Strategies. Afterward, Vi's Susana Olivares introduced the students to the Vi website and online resources, and outlined internship opportunities with the United Nations.The visit concluded with a guided tour of the Palais des Nations.


Government of Finland

Second edition of Vi online course set for February 3
Building on the resounding success of our first online course on trade and poverty analysis, the Vi has selected 45 researchers from 38 countries to participate in the second edition of the course, scheduled February 3 to April 20. Chosen from a pool of 235 applicants, participating academics represent 30 universities, five research centers and 10 government agencies.

Funded by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs and the Government of Finland, the course will provide participants with the empirical tools needed to assess the impact of trade and trade-related policies on poverty and income distribution. The ultimate goal is to leverage researcher-policymaker cooperation to support countries in the design of pro-poor trade policies.

Vi core member, the University of Jordan conducts national launch of UNCTAD's Information Economy Report 2013

Vi Think Tank member, the Bangladesh Foreign Instiute, conducts national launch of UNCTAD's Information Economy Report 2013

Vi members launch UNCTAD flagship report
The global launch of this year's Information Economy Report (IER) included activities in several countries, among them presentations hosted by Vi members in Bangladesh, Jordan and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

The launch in the FYR Macedonia was organized by Adrijan Božinovski, of Vi core member, University American College Skopje (UACS), on December 3. The university complemented its presentation of IER findings with two lectures detailing experiences at the university and in the private sector with the use of cloud technology, the focus of this year's report.

The Jordan launch, also on December 3, was hosted by Vi core member, the University of Jordan. Presenting the report were UJ Acting President, Azmi Mahafzah, Faculty of Business Dean, Zoubi Al Zoubi, and Vi member coordinator, Taleb Awad. The event was also attended by Jordan's Minister of Communications and Information Technology, Marwan Juma.

"The report praised Jordan for achieving remarkable progress in terms of the provision of information and communication technology infrastructure in spite of the limited financial resources," Awad said.

Finally, on December 15, Vi think tank member, the Bangladesh Foreign Trade Institute (BFTI), in cooperation with the Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry, organized the IER national launch for the country. Vi think tank coordinator, M Mozibur Rahman chaired the session.

"One important outcome of the session is that BFTI will take the initiative to push the government to formulate appropriate policy on cloud computing in Bangladesh taking all the relevant stakeholders on board," reports BFTI Research Fellow, Mohammad Farhad.

German project supports graduate programmes of members in Belarus and Chile
The DAAD Partnership on Economic Development Studies, a project involving nine Vi members, and managed by core German member, HTW Berlin-University of Applied Sciences, sponsored visits to universities in India and Chile from Vi coordinators in Belarus and South Africa this quarter.

The visit to Vi core Indian member, the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), further supported the recently launched Master's in International Economics and Trade Policy of core member, the Belarus State Economic University (BSEU). It was also an opportunity for Belarusian coordinator, Alena Petrushkevich, to get materials and pointers on methodology and econometric issues linked to her research on FDI and regional integration in the Commonwealth of Independent States.

"The essential part of my work there was studying the curriculum and the syllabi of some courses of the Master’s programme in Economics (with specialization in the World Economy) provided by JNU's Centre for International Trade and Development," Petrushkevich reports. "I was able to improve the teaching materials for a new course on FDI for our Master’s programmes in English and Russian."

From left to right: André Jordaan (left), Dorotea Lopez and Felipe Muñoz

The visit to core member, the University of Chile, by South African core coordinator, André Jordaan, incorporated the African experience into the Chilean university's Master's in International Studies.

Jordaan's lectures covered the African and South African economy, regional integration in Africa, intra-African trade, the Common Monetary Area, the Southern African Customs Union (SACU), the Southern African Development Community and the revenue-sharing formula of SACU. During a brown-bag session for faculty and students he discussed the impact of distance on international trade in Africa.

"I also had a discussion with a student who wants to do a dissertation on Africa and Brazil and needed some information on the planned research, including possible data sources and ideas," Jordaan writes. "I hope I was able to add some value to the Master’s programme and that the students gained some insight into the African economic environment."

Vi student group

Vi colombian study tours inspire student blog - All Vi students welcome!
Vi study tour alumni from Colombia's Universidad EAFIT have established a student blog on trade, investment and development inspired by the topics featured during their training programmes at UNCTAD.

The blog is a space for dissemination of policy analysis and reviews written by students. The articles are written in English or Spanish and include the students' perspective on issues such as the role of the World Trade Organization, trends in foreign direct investment and global value chains, and the role of services trade in emerging economies.

Edited by Colombian Vi member coordinator, EAFIT's This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., the blog welcomes contributions from other students in the Vi network.

New pubs on the way!

? With love from Vi to you ?
Catarina Mastellaro, our new Vi intern, has spent much of her first few weeks with us preparing 95 packages destined for the libraries of our university and think tank members around the world. We are grateful to all UNCTAD divisions, which contributed 2400 publications to our effort.

Part of this package is the just-published UNCTAD Handbook of Statistics and 2013 editions of UNCTAD flagship publications, the Trade and Development Report, the Economic Development in Africa Report and the Information Economy Report. The packages also include the latest addition to the Vi teaching material on Macroeconomics, Trade and Finance, and a DVD containing all Vi multimedia teaching resources published in the past 18 months.


Vi teaching material on capital flows

Government of Finland

Module on capital flows completes Vi macroeconomics teaching material series
The Vi recently published the fourth module of its teaching material on Contemporary Issues in International Macroeconomics, Trade and Finance. Development of the series was funded by the Government of Finland.

Written by Sebastian Dullien, of German core university member, HTW Berlin – University of Applied Sciences, "Capital flows to developing countries: When are they good for development?" starts with a review of the neoclassical model of capital inflows and development, followed by a review of empirical evidence on capital liberalization and capital inflows around the world in the past decades to ascertain whether their proclaimed benefits have materialized.

Evidence presented indicates that the real world is more complex than that defined by the neoclassical model, and that a number of its predictions do not materialize. The module attempts to explain why the empirical evidence is at odds with the theoretical predictions, and sketches out a Keynesian alternative to the neoclassical models.


UNCTAD Virtual Institute

Government of Finlnad

New Vi teaching material localizations now online
Academics from Vi member universities in Ethiopia, Kenya and Zimbabwe received grants to adapt Vi generic teaching materials to the contexts of their countries. Funds for the localizations were provided by the Government of Finland.

Former Vi fellow, Martha Belete Hailu, of core member, Addis Ababa University, looks at Ethiopia's investment policy from the legal point of view in her local adaptation of the teaching material on Economic and Legal Aspects of Foreign Direct Investment. The first part of the material analyzes the bilateral investment treaties (BITs) signed by the country, their scope, and provisions relating to the admission of investment and protection and treatment of investment. It also examines the two main types of investment disputes, state-state disputes and investor-state disputes, and the mechanisms which can be used for their settlement. The second part of the material focuses on national FDI policy, reviewing the different instruments and rules used by the country in the areas of investment regulation, protection, promotion and facilitation, as well as other policies that have a bearing on investment, such as environmental, labour, trade and competition policies, and laws concerning the ownership of immovable property. The material also examines the interface between investment policy and sustainable development, looking into the issues of coherence between the country's national policy and international agreements, inconsistencies among the BITs concluded, and mandates of agencies entrusted with negotiating and signing BITs on behalf of the country.

Daniel Abala, of Vi Kenyan core member, the University of Nairobi, investigated the competitiveness of Kenyan manufacturing exports in regional and world trade in his localization of the teaching material on Competitiveness and Development. In the first section, Abala introduces the issue of competitiveness, particularly in the context of international trade in manufactured products. The second section is dedicated to the analysis of determinants and, subsequently, indicators of competitiveness, such as labour productivity, total factor productivity, real effective exchange rate, export market shares and foreign direct investment, and various trade-related indicators. The third section provides information on the evolution of Kenya's manufacturing exports, and analyzes the main obstacles to competitiveness in Kenya, before looking into regional and national policies aiming to promote competitiveness of Kenya's manufacturing sector, in particular those related to regional integration, infrastructure, institutional framework, human capital, and technology and innovation. The material also contains review questions and activities for students.

Albert Makochekanwa, of Vi core member, the University of Zimbabwe, analyzes regional trade/integration agreements of relevance to Zimbabwe in his adaptation of the teaching material on Regional Trade Agreements. The first part of the localization provides an introduction to the topic by explaining the theory and concepts related to regional integration, as well as the basic facts about the two groupings of which Zimbabwe is a member, COMESA and SADC. In the second part, Makochekanwa goes deeper into the analysis of intra-COMESA and intra-SADC trade, as well as the factors that constrain their growth, such as customs-, infrastructure- and production-related reasons, institutional arrangements, and preferential access to markets outside the region. The third part focuses specifically on Zimbabwe's trade with COMESA and SADC countries which it illustrates by using several tools and indicators, such as the gravity model, revealed comparative advantage, and the Glubel-Lloyd index. The final part goes beyond the integration initiatives which are already operational by introducing the project of the COMESA-EAC-FTA Tripartite FTA. The author explains in detail its main negotiating areas, namely trade in goods, trade in services, and legal and institutional issues, before concluding with a brief analysis of the challenges facing these negotiations.

New Vi multimedia teaching resources

New Vi multimedia teaching resource now online
In "Focus on wages and domestic/regional demand key to emerging from crisis," Alex Izurieta, of UNCTAD's Division on Globalization and Development Strategies, presents the findings of UNCTAD's latest Trade and Development Report.

"Five years after the onset of the global financial crisis, the world economy remains in a state of disarray," he says. "If we want developing countries to follow a sustainable growth path, we need to re-think the sources of growth."

UNCTAD Virtual Institute

Study tour materials now online
Vi members can now access the teaching resources prepared to support Vi training activities for students from Colombian member universities and from the University of International Business and Economics (UIBE) in China.

The UIBE study tour materials cover topics related to the impact of technology on development, the role of intellectual property rights and foreign direct investment, trends in transport and trade facilitation, and the green economy. The documents include PowerPoint presentations and other documents provided by lecturers from UNCTAD, WTO, ITC and WIPO.

Materials for the study tour for Colombian member universities focus on the topic of trade in services, and include presentations from UNCTAD, WTO and ITC on regulatory and institutional frameworks, the Uruguay Round and other negotiations, logistics services in developing countries, and the tourim industry, among others.



?	UNCTAD Handbook of Statistics 2013

UNCTAD Handbook of Statistics 2013
An essential source of statistical information for policymakers, researchers, managers and civil society representatives, the UNCTAD Handbook of Statistics provides data for analyzing and measuring world trade, investment, international financial flows and development in general.

The publication is divided into eight sections presenting not only raw data, but also "processed" information in the form of shares, growth rates and various trade-related indicators. Users may access data about international merchandise trade; international merchandise trade by region; international merchandise trade by product; international merchandise trade indicators; international trade in services; commodities; international finance; and development indicators. The Handbook is available in print and DVD. The underlying data can be accessed online at UNCTADstat.

UNCTAD Least Developed Countries Report 2013

The Least Developed Countries Report 2013: Growth with employment for inclusive and sustainable development
According to projections, the working-age population in the least developed countries (LDCs) will grow by 16 million people each year between now and 2050, by which time their population should double. This presents a formidable challenge for these countries in terms of generating sufficient quantity of jobs and offering decent employment opportunities to their youths. Against this background, UNCTAD's LDC Report 2013 explores how these countries could promote employment-generating growth that would enable them to reduce poverty and attain sustainable development.

Based on an analysis of the trends in LDC economic performance, employment and demography, the report proposes a framework for linking employment creation and the development of productive capacities. Given the relatively weak private sector in many LDCs, the report suggests that the investment push required to kick-start the growth process should originate in the public sector. Investment in infrastructure and the upgrading of firms and farms are considered critical for growth, development of productive capacities and job creation.

Information Economy Report 2013:

Information Economy Report 2013: The Cloud Economy and Developing Countries
Cloud computing represents one of the latest advances in information technology, allowing to significantly improve the capacity to process, transmit and store data for the delivery of both public and private services. In this context, UNCTAD's Information Economy Report 2013 examines the economic potential of cloud computing for low- and middle-income countries, where rates of adoption are currently low.

After analyzing the trends in the cloud economy and related infrastructure, it looks into the drivers and barriers of cloud technology adoption, as well as legal aspects of cloud services and their implications for developing countries. Cloud computing offers the potential for enhanced efficiency through greater storage and computing capacity and the expertise of cloud service providers in IT management and security. However, it also has costs and risks, such as costs of communications, reduced control over data and applications, data security and privacy concerns, and risks of services being inaccessible to targeted users.

The report recommends that governments should base their policies on a careful assessment of the pros and cons of cloud solutions, and seek to create an enabling framework for those firms and organizations that wish to migrate data and services to the cloud so that they can do so easily and safely.

Review of Maritime Transport

Review of Maritime Transport 2013
The UNCTAD Review of Maritime Transport (RMT) provides comprehensive analysis and statistics on seaborne trade, world fleet, freight rates, port traffic, and the latest trends in the legal and regulatory environment for international maritime transport. For 2013, the RMT reports an estimated 4.3 percent increase in global seaborn trade, which reached over 9 billion tons in 2012. The increase is attributed to growing domestic demand in China and increased intra-Asian and South-South trade. Although the sector remains challenged by interconnected issues of energy security and costs, and environmental sustainability, global economic trends -- deeper regional integration and South-South cooperation, growing diversification of sources of supply, and access to new markets, for example -- create opportunities for growth.

The Review goes on to examine global developments in container trade flows and containership deployment, and building on UNCTAD's Liner Shipping Connectivity Index, presents trends over 10 years in liner shipping connectivity in developing regions. A special chapter on "Landlocked countries and maritime transport" focuses on the impediments to accessing sea-shipping services for trade between landlocked territories and overseas markets.

?	Who is benefiting from trade liberalization in Angola? - A Gender Perspective

Who is benefiting from trade liberalization in Angola? - A Gender Perspective
Part of an UNCTAD series of studies on trade and gender, this publication assesses the extent to which trade liberalization in Angola has had an impact on women, and attempts to determine whether trade policies and related structural transformation have reinforced gender inequality or created new opportunities for women. It concludes that Angola's integration into the world economy, mainly as an oil exporter, has constrained the development of domestic import-competing or export-oriented sectors, and reinforced the primary extractive character of the economy. This has had negative repercussions on the development of productive activities that could absorb the female workforce and provide women with decent incomes. Consequently, women remain concentrated in non-tradable and low-productivity activities, mainly in the informal sector, which employs 70 percent of the female workforce in the country.

The study maintains that, in addition to horizontal issues and policies such as exchange rates, tariff protection, infrastructure rehabilitation and development of entrepreneurship, sectoral policies that take into account the gender division of labour are essential to help women benefit from trade. In this context, it proposes policy measures for agriculture, fisheries, manufacturing and the tourism sector. It also suggests that a portion of revenues from the extractive sectors could be transferred to dedicated funds to finance gender-sensitive and pro-poor development of sectors in which Angola has an actual comparative advantage.

Tariff Preferences as a Determinant for Exports from Sub-Saharan Africa

Tariff Preferences as a Determinant for Exports from Sub-Saharan Africa
This paper, co-authored by our colleague Alessandro Nicita, of UNCTAD's Division on International Trade in Goods and Services, and Commodities, examines the impact of market access conditions on export performance of 30 countries in sub-Saharan Africa. The analysis focuses on tariffs and considers both direct market access (the tariffs faced by exports from sub-Saharan Africa) and relative market access conditions (the preferential margin of African exports relative to that of other competitors).

The results confirm that both direct market access conditions and relative market access conditions matter, although relative market access conditions matter in a larger number of cases. This suggests that the exports from the countries of sub-Saharan Africa often face more competition from foreign competitors than from domestic industries in their destination markets. The paper also simulates the impact of a complete liberalization of trade among sub-Saharan African countries and concludes that the probability of exporting in the region would substantially increase under this scenario.


WTO annual package of trade and tariff data
Providing a comprehensive overview of trade developments in 2012, the WTO annual package of trade data includes 2013 editions of its three main trade data products.

International Trade Statistics contains a detailed overview of world merchandise and services trade through the end of 2012, covering, for the first time, trade measured in value-added terms (trade in global value chains).

World Trade Profiles, developed with UNCTAD and ITC, provides both the maximum tariff rates that are legally "bound" in the WTO and the rates that countries actually apply for WTO members and a number of other countries where data is available. The technical annex focuses on WTO members' participation in regional trade agreements.

Trade Profiles covers information on trade flows and trade policy measures of WTO members, observers and other selected economies. The one-page-per country profiles include basic economic indicators (such as GDP), trade policy indicators (such as tariffs, import duties, the number of disputes, notifications outstanding and contingency measures in force), merchandise trade flows (broken down by broad product categories and major origins and destinations), services trade flows (with a breakdown by major components) and industrial property indicators.

A new feature of this year's WTO data package is Services Profiles, which include statistics on key "infrastructure services," i.e. transportation, telecommunications, finance and insurance, for 140 economies.

IEI - Chile

Oferta para miembros: Universidad de Chile
La Universidad de Chile invita a miembros del Instituto Virtual a postular para la edición 2014-2015 de su Magíster en Estrategia Internacional y Política Comercial.

El mágister tiene como objetivo preparar especialistas para que: adquieran conocimientos de los principios de economía política, de las normas e instituciones, y de los procesos de integración; entiendan y apliquen metodologías cuantitativas a la realidad comercial de los países; entiendan, a través de herramientas prácticas, la problemática que enfrentan los agentes en la toma de decisiones de política comercial; conozcan desde diferentes disciplinas las complejidades del sector público y el sector privado, en su relación frente a los temas de inserción comercial internacional; y entiendan las relaciones comerciales y sus consecuencias en temas medioambientales y/o de responsabilidad social.

Todos los miembros del Instituto Virtual recibirán 25 porciento de descuento sobre el arancel del programa.

Para postular, complete el formulario, o regístrese en línea antes del 1 de marzo. Para mayor información, contactar a This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


How sustainable is your thesis? - Deadline: February 10
The LATN network will award one prize of USD 2000 and two of USD 1500 to three post-graduate theses (Masters and/or PhD) dealing with themes of sustainability and green growth. Two special mentions of USD 500 will also be awarded.

LATN welcomes theoretical, empirical and comparative work, or case studies, that seek to analyze and provide innovative responses to challenges created by sustainability for Latin American countries, from the economic and social/institutional perspectives. The work must be original and individual, and written in Spanish, English or Portuguese.

Interested students must submit their entries in PDF format to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by February 10. Eligible theses must be finalized by 15 December 2014.

Vi Swiss member, the World Trade Institute

Vi Swiss member offers discount on courses
The World Trade Institute (WTI) of the University of Bern is once again offering a 25 percent discount for Vi members participating in its weekly Master of International Law and Economics (MILE) modules and its Summer Academy on International Trade and Investment Regulation.

MILE courses, running January 8 - April 3, consist of lectures and case studies, offering students opportunities for classroom discussions, group workshops, and individual research.

Topics of this year's edition of the Summer Academy, scheduled July 14 - August 1, include the trade policy implications of Global Value Chains, litigation and dispute prevention in international investment law, and the essentials of trade promotion, among others.

For further information, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Vi Vietnamese core member, the Foreign Trade Institute

International conference call for papers - Deadline February 15
Vi Vietnamese member, the Foreign Trade University (FTU), has issued a call for papers to be presented at the international conference, "Towards the 2015 Asean Economic Community (AEC): Progress And Prospects," scheduled for June 13-14 at Universitas Pelita Harapan (UPH), Jakarta, Indonesia.

Co-organized by UPH and Vi members, FTU, and Switzerland's World Trade Institute, the conference welcomes submissions of papers on the challenges, roadblocks and prospects faced by the ASEAN region in realizing the establishment of the AEC in 2015.

Extended paper abstracts (up to 2 pages) in English may be submitted to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by February 15.

An edited volume featuring the best papers presented at the conference will be published jointly by the three academic partners. Accommodation and travel expenses will be funded for a limited number of participants.

Former Vi fellow, Yadira Castillo

Former Vi fellow defends PhD thesis
Yadira Castillo, of Colombian affiliate member, Universidad de los Andes, successfully defended her PhD in Law thesis October 23. Her thesis looks at biases in favor of foreign investor as a limit to the international responsibility of transnational corporations.

"The Virtual Institute played a key role," writes Castillo, who pursued a related line of investigation during her Vi fellowship. "The information obtained from UNCTAD allowed me to extend the range of my research."

Castillo's thesis received an excellent rating from the jury, whose members suggested she publish an English version as well.

Vi economist, Cristian Ugarte

New doctor in the family
Vi economist, Cristian Ugarte, received his PhD in Economics from the University of Geneva in December. His thesis, focusing on pro-poor economic policies, studies the transmission of aggregate economic growth across individuals and the the industrialization strategies that may help poor countries increase the sophistication of their production.

Cristian has been supporting Vi activities since June 2012, when he came on board to help manage technical assistance projects, and to provide substantive support to the Vi online course on Trade and Poverty. Since then, he has provided training in econometric analysis for our members in sub-Saharan Africa and the least developed countries, mentored several Vi fellows and served as lead economist of the programme, utlimately responsible for the content and quality of teaching materials, localizations and trade and poverty project outputs.

His immediate plans will take him back to the academic world for the next six months, after which time we hope he will reintegrate the Vi team.

New Vi intern, Catarina Mastellaro

New winter-spring intern for the Vi
Brazilian Catarina Mastellaro, a Master's student at Vi Swiss affiliate member, the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, began her six-month internship at the Vi in December.

So far, she has single-handedly prepared end-of-year publication packages for our nearly 100 member institutions, brought the Vi digital library to date, and published her very first mutlimedia teaching material, as well as several articles for the website and newsletter.

Catarina expects to complete her Master's in Development Studies in June 2015, after which she hopes to work for the UN or other international organizations in establishing partnerships and promoting technical cooperation projects related to international development.

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 members about their current or planned 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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