A partnership with academia

Building knowledge for trade and development

Vi Quarterly Newsletter

Issue #41 - June 2014 - Welcome to the Vi quarterly newsletter



10 years of achievements: Happy birthday, Vi!
The UNCTAD Virtual Institute (Vi) in June celebrated its 10th anniversary, which gave us the perfect opportunity to think back to our origins and take stock of our achievements so far.

The Vi began its activities in 2004 with five founding university members representing Brazil, India, Jordan, Mauritius and Tanzania. By 2014, the Vi had grown into a true global academic network encompassing 101 universities and research centres in 52 countries.

The task at hand was to strengthen teaching and research capacities on trade and development at member institutions. Therefore, the first part of the job was to help members enrich their academic offer. To this end, the Vi developed a palette of services including curricular advice, teaching materials and adaptations, and study tours.

In its first 10 years, the Vi witnessed the launch of new Master’s programmes in nine countries, and contributed to the development and/or upgrade of courses at universities in 13 others. The original five Vi teaching materials have nearly tripled, and have generated 30 adaptations to the contexts of 16 countries, as well as translations into eight languages. The materials have been used to teach at least 33,000 students in 29 countries. The Vi has also kept members’ libraries well stocked, distributing 21,700 trade-related publications since 2007, and provided training to more than 1300 students through its 48 study tours.

To tackle the second part of the job, strengthening research capacities, the Vi emphasized professional development through workshops and online courses, mentored research projects and fellowships. So far, 1,037 academics from 40 countries have gained new skills and knowledge through 41 Vi workshops and online courses, which have also generated 16 mentored research projects from researchers in 15 countries. The network has also nurtured 61 budding researchers from 19 countries through Vi fellowships at UNCTAD.

Finally, as we are not called virtual for nothing, digital services have figured prominently since the beginning. The 64 Vi videoconferences have linked more than 2,500 participants from 12 countries with UNCTAD experts. The Vi website now has more than 3,800 registered users and receives nearly 7.5 million hits a year. The site also hosts a digital library of 1300 publications, 70 curricula shared by the membership, 70 multimedia teaching packages, and more than 80 document sets derived from Vi study tours and workshops. And last, but not least, this is our 41st digital newsletter.

We would like to thank all of you and our loyal donors for helping us make the Vi a success.

  Vi@10>100: Three more members for the Vi network
Vi membership this quarter surpassed the 100th-member mark, as institutions from the Russian Federation, Burundi and the Dominican Republic joined UNCTAD's academic network of universities and think tanks. The membership now stands at 101 institutions from 52 countries.
Russian Foreign Trade Academy

The latest addition to the Russian Vi affiliate network, the Russian Foreign Trade Academy (RFTA), joined the Vi June 26. The cooperation was encouraged by the Ministry of Economic Development, to which RFTA is affiliated. Founded in 1931, RFTA offers undergraduate and graduate programmes in international economics and trade policy, international trade finance, financial management, international trade law and international business.

The academy conducts policy-oriented research for the Ministry of Economic Development and the Eurasian Economic Commission. Current topics include: analysis of the impact on Russia of WTO membership; Russia's interests in various plurilateral cooperation initiatives (Customs Union, Eurasian Economic Union, Shanghai Cooperation Organization, BRICS); and cooperation with countries/groups of countries (sub-Saharan Africa, OECD, or China). Research is also ongoing on sanitary and phytosanitary measures and global value chains and their implications for the country, and the system of management of international trade activities in the country. The "Foreign Economic Bulletin" published by RFTA is the only monthly journal on foreign economic relations in the country.

Vi’s member coordinator at RFTA is Pavel Kadochnikov, Vice-Rector for Research. Responsible for the coordination of RFTA's research and policy-related activities, he has published on Russia's budgetary, monetary and tax policies, and developed models of Russia's economic development. Also joining is Maria Ptashkina, a graduate of Vi Russian core member, the Higher School of Economics, and a long-standing Vi associate member, currently a researcher at RFTA.

Université du Burundi

Coming in at magic number 100 on June 25, was the Université du Burundi (UB), the 17th Vi member institution from a least developed country. The only public university in the country, UB was established in 1964 with the goal of providing high quality education and becoming a university of reference in the sub-region and beyond.

Vi's direct counterpart, the Faculty of Economics and Management, offers degrees in economics, rural economics and business management. Its research centre, the University Research Centre for Economic and Social Development (Centre Universitaire de Recherche pour le Développement Economique et Social - CURDES), regularly publishes research undertaken by the staff in a review titled "Cahiers de CURDES."

The cooperation with the Vi will be coordinated by Willy-Marcel Ndayitwayeko, a Vi associate member since 2011 who has participated in Vi training, and who was the driving force behind the membership of UB and of Kenya's Moi University, where he was completing his PhD. Also supporting the cooperation is his Dean, Léonidas Ndayizeye, and Senior Lecturer, Rédempteur Ntawiratsa.

Vi think tank member, FUNGLODE

Finally, Dominican Republic think tank, FUNGLODE, became the Vi's 99th member institution on June 17, the day of the network's 10th birthday. A private foundation established in 2000, its work focuses on the analysis of the impact of global social, economic and political phenomena on development.

Its main areas of research include law and democracy, environment and sustainable development, national economic development in the Dominican Republic, education, tourism and the information society. These issues, a number of which are related to the UN Millennium Development Goals, are covered by specialized research centres.

The cooperation between FUNGLODE and the Vi will be coordinated by Executive Director, Marco Herrera.


Second Vi trade and poverty course graduates 31 researchers in 27 countries
Twenty-seven developing countries, including 17 LDCs, can now count on the expertise of local researchers to provide policy-relevant analysis on the effects of trade on poverty, after successfully completing the 11-week second edition of the Vi online course on trade and poverty, held February 3 to April 20. Co-funded by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs and the Government of Finland, the course received 235 applications, from which 45 participants from 38 countries were selected. Thirty-one candidates went on to successfully complete the course’s six modules, related tests and hands-on exercises.

“I had some background on trade and poverty before but after this course I can call myself a trade and poverty expert,” reported Cameroonian researcher, Francis Hypolite Kemeze, who is currently a PhD student at the University of Ghana. “I have got during this course a lot of knowledge on data sources, tools and how to apply these tools on practical data and come up with relevant policy recommendations.”

All participants stated that the course enhanced their knowledge of data sources, tools, methods and policy-relevant research questions on trade and poverty, and 89 percent of the graduates felt ready to undertake policy-relevant research on trade and poverty independently or in partnership with a more experienced researcher, and/or instruct their students on the tools and methods used in the course.

“Given that I am working with a policy institution and have advanced training in economics at PhD level, trade and poverty will be one of my research areas,” said Tanzanian Zarau Kibwe, currently a PhD student at the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies in Japan. “This will help my institution improve its way of making policy as now it will be coming up with evidence-based policies as a result of the research I am going to undertake collaboratively with other colleagues.

Participants also plan to use their new knowledge and skills in their teaching, research and policy advice work.

“I plan to teach my students how we can measure the gains from trade and what we expect after our country joins the WTO,” said Ebaidalla Mahjoub Ebaidalla, of Sudan’s University of Kassala. “Thanks to this course, I feel more prepared to launch a big project to evaluate the impact of a reform of fuel subsidy on household welfare,” added Philippe Thadal, of Haiti’s Ministry of Economy and Finance.




Government of Finland

Vi trade and poverty project nears completion
The three-year Vi capacity building project on policy-relevant trade and poverty analysis entered its final phase with the completion of 11 country case studies prepared by researchers from Argentina, Benin, China, Costa Rica, Democratic Republic of the Congo, former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Nigeria, Peru, the Philippines and Viet Nam.

The researchers, trained in 2012 through the Vi online course on trade and poverty and subsequently coached by international experts and the Vi team, developed their research projects in consultation with national policymakers. This helped them not only to identify topics of policy interest to the countries, but also better understand the sectors they analyzed (primarily agricultural commodities such as wheat, corn, rice, or cotton), get access to relevant data, and understand the policymaking process.

The studies aim to answer questions about the impact on different groups of the poor (male- and female-headed households or rural and urban households) of various trade-related policy measures. The measures analyzed include export restrictions, import tariffs, agricultural subsidies, price support, common external tariff, currency appreciation, and trade liberalization of a group of products (agricultural products, environmental products). The analysis then feeds into the formulation of recommendations for policy measures that would minimize adverse effects while maximizing the positive impact of trade reforms on the poor.

The papers will be presented September 8-10 in Geneva, during a Vi international seminar which will gather an audience of academics, experts from international organizations, national policymakers and representatives of the permanent missions of UNCTAD member countries in Geneva. The seminar will also witness the launch of the publication "Trade policies, household welfare and poverty alleviation: Case studies from the Virtual Institute academic network." The book, edited by one of the leading international experts on trade and poverty, Nina Pavcnik from Dartmouth College, will feature a selection of papers emanating from the project.


Empirics of trade topic of first workshop for Tanzanian affiliate

Tanzania One UN Fund

Empirics of trade topic of first workshop for Tanzanian affiliate
The first capacity-building activity organized for recent Vi affiliate, the Open University of Tanzania (OUT), held June 2-5 in Dar es Salaam, trained 17 participants from OUT’s Faculty of Business Management, as well as core Vi member, the University of Dar es Salaam Business School, the Prime Minister's Office, the Ministry of Agriculture and the Tanzania Revenue Authority. Funding for the workshop was provided by the Tanzania One UN Fund.

Led by Marco Fugazza, of UNCTAD's Division on International Trade in Goods and Services and Commodities, the workshop introduced participants to the empirics of trade, with a focus on the gravity approach to the determinants of bilateral commerce, and potential interaction between regional and multilateral agreements. Participants also had the opportunity for hands-on practice on the use of the gravity model using the Stata software.

“The workshop was rich in learning materials including empirical data and practical sessions,” said OUT Vi member coordinator, France Shayo. “As academics, we expect that the knowledge, skills and competencies will improve the university’s capacity and interest in teaching, researching and consulting in the area of international trade, as well as in the current debate in country’s regional economic integration endeavors.“

Government of Finland

Vi fellows from Zimbabwe and Cameroon examine African FDI and factors for trade performance
Voronica Mufudza, of Vi core member, the University of Zimbabwe, and Manfred Kouty, of Vi core Cameroonian member, Université de Yaoundé II, were awarded this year's first Vi fellowships. Funded by the Government of Finland, their six-week stay at UNCTAD May 12 to June 20 allowed the researchers to complete first drafts of their research papers.

Vi fellow, Voronica Mufudza with UNCTAD mentor, Kalman Kalotay

Mufudza (pictured, left), a PhD student, analyzed the spillover effects of foreign direct investment (FDI) in Africa with mentoring by UNCTAD experts, Kalman Kalotay (pictured) and Astrit Sulstarova of the Division on Investment and Enterprise, and Vi economist, David Zavaleta.

The purpose of Mufudza's research was to test whether FDI, through its spillovers, stimulates growth in sub-Saharan African countries. The question is of particular relevance to African policymakers because it relates to the effects of FDI beyond the investment itself, and raises the issue of policies that would enhance the benefits from FDI for their countries.

Her preliminary findings indicate that sectoral technological spillovers of FDI in sub-Saharan Africa are weak and negative. Productivity spillovers are positive for the industrial sector; strong and negative in the primary sector (which attracts the majority of multi-national companies (MNC) to Africa) and also in the services sector. This effect may be explained by the fact that the primary sector has limited scope for linkages between MNCs and domestic firms, which facilitate spillovers. Based on her findings, Mufudza recommends that in order to increase economic benefits of FDI for Africa, policymakers should concentrate on policies to foster the linkages between MNC s and domestic firms within the primary sector and the linkages between MNCs in the primary sector with domestic firms in other sectors, in particular industry.

"I managed to achieve my initial goal and much more," Mufudza said. "I came with just one ultimate objective of using the expertise and resources available in UNCTAD to develop a 'state-of-the-art' research proposal in my field of investment and development. Today, at the end of the six weeks fellowship, I have the proposal and a pilot project/paper, the first draft of which I managed to present to a panel of experts from UNCTAD, and will be ready for a second review by the university panel in Zimbabwe during the week beginning 8 July."

Vi fellow, Manfred Kouty, with UNCTAD mentor, Marco Fugazza

Kouty (pictured, left) looked into the factors determining trade costs, considered one of the principal reasons for Africa's poor performance in both its trade with the rest of the world, and intra-African trade. With mentoring from Marco Fugazza (pictured), of UNCTAD's Division on International Trade in Goods and Services and Commodities, Kouty achieved his principal goal for the fellowship: the development of a database including information on 177 countries, including 30 in Africa, for the period of 1995-2010.

His preliminary analysis confirms that the costs in African trade with the rest of the world are higher than those of other regions. According to his findings, this can be explained by higher customs efficiency and better maritime connectivity in other regions. For intra-African trade, geographical distance and higher costs of setting up business are the main factors that push up costs.

In addition to the database, the fellowship allowed Kouty to complete the first draft of his paper, which he intends to finalize around end-2014 or early 2015 and submit for publication.

"In my country, I would not have had access to data, documentation and the support through the supervision of Marco Fugazza, especially on the use of the gravity model," said Kouty, a participant of the 2011 Vi workshop on tools and methods for trade and trade policy analysis and the 2012 Vi online course on trade and poverty.


Vi videoconferences on UNCTAD flagships reach 80 in Africa and Latin America
UNCTAD research found its way into the classrooms of Vi member universities in Morocco and Colombia this quarter, as the Vi organized two videoconferences featuring flagship publications, the World Investment Report (WIR) and the Trade and Environment Review (TER).

Videoconference on World Investment Report for Vi core Moroccan member


The Vi videoconference on the findings of the 2013 WIR gathered 45 academics, students and government representatives at Vi core Moroccan university member, Université Mohammed V - Souissi, April 11.

Axèle Giroud, of UNCTAD's Division on Investment and Enterprise, began with an update on foreign direct investment (FDI) flows and policies, which show FDI flows returning to growth in 2013. Developing countries again topped the list of FDI recipients with a share of 52 percent (USD 759 billion), while developed countries received only 39 percent of the flows. The developing regions that benefited most from FDI inflows were Africa and Latin America and the Caribbean, and while developing Asia recorded a decline, it remains the most attractive region. The forecast for 2014 and 2015 projects FDI flows to reach USD 1,600 billion and 1,800 billion respectively.

The presentation also included a review of policy trends and an analysis of the impact of global value chains, the special focus of the 2013 WIR.

Vi videoconference on UNCTAD's Trade and Environment Review for Colombian members

The Vi videoconference on the TER 2013, presented by co-author and editor, Ulrich Hoffmann, of UNCTAD's Division on International Trade in Goods and Services and Commodities (DITC), was attended by 34 lecturers and students from three Colombian universities -- Universidad EAFIT, Universidad EAN and Universidad de Antioquia -- May 26.

The report, entitled "Wake up before it is too late: Make agriculture truly sustainable now for food security in a changing climate," asserts that food security and access to land and water may become the key issues dominating the global political, economic and security agenda of the 21st century.

"Agriculture will be at the forefront of international and national conflicts caused by migration due to the lack of agricultural land and water in the future," Hoffmann said.

Although agriculture accounts for 40 to 60 percent of the total production and work force of many developing countries and is associated with poverty eradication and health-related international goals, the sector faces many challenges, including the growth of population and demand, shrinking natural resources, and climate change, to which it is itself contributing negatively.

"Agriculture is part of the problem but so far not part of the solution," stressed Hoffmann, advocating a shift from a "green revolution" type of agriculture, to an "ecological intensification" multifunctional agriculture, where the farmer is not only a producer of agricultural goods, but also a manager of an agro-ecological system that provides public goods and services.



67 students from Russia and West Indies in Geneva for 7th and 10th Vi study tours
Students and lecturers from five Vi member universities in the Russian Federation and the West Indies took part in tailored training programmes aimed at complementing their studies on international trade and development topics this quarter.

Vi study tour for Russian member universities

The seventh annual Vi study tour for Russian members, held April 7-11, brought together 55 students and lecturers from Vi members, the State University Higher School of Economics, the Moscow State Institute of International Relations, the St. Petersburg State University and the North-West Institute.

The one-week training programme included 13 sessions on trade and development topics, delivered by experts from UNCTAD's divisions on Globalization and Development Strategies (GDS), Technology and Logistics, and Investment and Enterprise (DIAE), as well as Virtual Institute partner organizations, the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the International Trade Centre (ITC). Also part of the tour was a discussion with representatives of the country's delegation in Geneva. The topics covered ranged from the international financial system, foreign direct investment and technology and innovation, to trade in services, trade remedies, and the WTO dispute settlement mechanism. The programme also included discussions on recent developments in the WTO, particularly the Bali package, and a visit to ITC, where the group learned about the use of market research and analysis tools. One of the highlights of the tour came on the last day of the tour, when students were able to show what they had learned during the week by participating in a simulation exercise on foreign direct investment.

The programme also included a session with Ambassador Alexey Borodavkin, Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the United Nations Office, and other mission representatives, where the students were able to ask questions on matters regarding the mission's work with UNCTAD, the WTO and the UN Economic Commission for Europe.

Vi study tour for the University of the West Indies

The tenth annual Vi study tour for students of core member, the University of the West Indies, gathered 12 students from six countries in Geneva May 12-23, for a two-week training programme covering international trade topics of relevance to the Caribbean region.

The two-week programme included 24 sessions on trade and development, market analysis tools, and linkages of trade with health, migration, creative industries, climate change and intellectual property. Experts from UNCTAD, the International Trade Centre, the World Trade Organization, the World Health Organization, the International Organization for Migration, the World Intellectual Property Organization, the Advisory Centre on WTO Law and the Commonwealth Small States Office, contributed their knowledge and experience to these sessions.

Also on the tour was a roundtable with regional ambassadors and country delegates, chaired by Ricardo James, Chargé d'affaires at the Delegation of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) in Geneva. Ambassadors from Barbados, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago and the Bahamas participated in the discussion, together with country delegates from Barbados, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, the Bahamas, Haiti and the OECS.


Vi core Colombian member, Universidad EAFIT

Colombian core member appointed multi-year venue of UNCTAD flagship course
Vi core Colombian university member, Universidad EAFIT, has been selected multi-year venue for UNCTAD's flagship course on Key Issues on the International Economic Agenda for the Latin America and Caribbean region for the period 2015-2019.

EAFIT has been hosting UNCTAD's course for the region since 2009, and obtained the first multi-year venue agreement from UNCTAD in 2011.

Vi core Peruvian member, PUCP

Vi Peruvian core member celebrates 50th anniversary with international conference
The Faculty of Social Sciences of Vi core member, the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú (PUCP), organized the international seminar, "Multilateral and Regional Agreements: Challenges for Latin America," April 28-29. The event, in commemoration of the Faculty's 50th anniversary, was opened by its Dean, Vi member coordinator, Alan Fairlie, and Edgar Manuel Vásquez Vela, Vice Minister of Foreign Trade. During the seminar, government officials from Peru and Brazil, experts and academics from various Latin American academic centers and representatives from regional and international organizations shared their thoughts and lessons learned on the recent trade developments and negotiations of trade agreements concluded with regional and extra regional partners.

Among the keynote speakers were academics from Vi members in Argentina and Colombia, as well as UNCTAD expert, Ana Maria Alvarez, of the Division on Trade in Goods and Services and Commodities. In her presentation, Alvarez addressed the international scenario after the Ninth WTO Ministerial in Bali, and the implications of mega-regionals for Latin American countries. She also lectured on bilateral, regional and multilateral negotiations at the VII Symposium organized by PUCP students April 25.

Vi members in Benin and South Africa awarded new WTO Chairs

Vi members in Benin and South Africa awarded new WTO Chairs
Vi partner, the World Trade Organization, has extended its academic support programme and admitted seven new universities, including Vi core member, Benin's Université d’Abomey-Calavi, and Vi South African affiliate, the North-West University. The programme will now provide support through May 2018 to 21 institutions, 13 of which are Vi members.

The WTO Chairs Programme provides financial, scientific and technical support to its partners in research, curriculum development and outreach activities for a period of up to four years.

Mid-year pubs pack from the Vi

Mid-year pubs pack for libraries - 2000 publications on their way
The Vi team is preparing more than 100 mid-year publication packages for the libraries of our university and think tank members. We would like to give big thanks to all UNCTAD divisions, which contributed publications in English, Spanish, French, and Portuguese, amounting to about 2,000 copies for this distribution.

The packages include the flagship publication, Review of Maritime Transport 2013, the commemorative book UNCTAD at 50, the 2013 World Tariff Profiles report, the Business of Biotrade report, the Key Trends in International Merchandise Trade report, and many others on the topics of trade and gender, commodity markets, structural change and development policies.

Vi teaching materials now available to all registered users

10th anniversary gift: Vi teaching materials freely accessible for all associate members
The Vi is sharing the wealth of knowledge accumulated during its first 10 years with the 3,228 associate members registered on the Vi website. Nine teaching materials developed by the Vi that have so far been reserved for the exclusive use of our institutional members are now available for download.

The materials, designed from a developing-country perspective, cover hot topics in today's international trade: commodities, foreign direct investment, regional trade agreements, competitiveness, macroeconomics, trade and poverty, trade policy analysis, and transfer of technology.

Materials developed by Vi members, as well as localizations and translations contributed by the network will remain the privilege of university and think tank members.

If you are interested in using the materials to support your teaching and research, please apply for associate membership.


Vi team puts final touches on new online course

Vi study tour materials now online
More Vi study tour materials are now available on our website for all Vi members.
Materials for the study tour for Russian member universities focus on topics of trade and development, such as foreign direct investment, technology and innovation and the WTO dispute settlement mechanisms, and include presentations from UNCTAD and WTO on regulatory and institutional frameworks, the Doha Development Agenda, and the Bali Conference, among others.

The University of the West Indies 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, competition policy, global value chains and food security. The documents were provided by lecturers from UNCTAD, WTO and WIPO.


New Vi multimedia teaching resources

Cloud computing, investment topics of latest Vi multimedia teaching resources
The Vi has put together two new multimedia teaching resources based on videoconference presentations of the 2013 editions of UNCTAD's flagship publications, the Information Economy Report (IER) and the World Investment Report (WIR).

The IER resource, presented by co-author, Scarlett Fondeur Gil, of UNCTAD's Division on Technology and Logistics, delves into the implications of the cloud economy for developing countries. An emerging trend in the information and communication technology sector, cloud computing has raised a number of questions among policymakers, particularly in terms of new regulatory challenges. As data flows in the cloud can be subject to multiple jurisdictions, this may raise issues of control, effective oversight and audit.

Rounding up our three-language multimedia resource package on the WIR is a French version, presented by Axèle Giroud, of UNCTAD's Division on Investment and Enterprise, during a videoconference with Vi Moroccan core member, the Université Mohammed V – Souissi.



UNCTAD at 50: A Short History

UNCTAD at 50: A short history
Published on the occasion of UNCTAD's 50th anniversary, the book takes the reader through the first half-century of the organization's life, from its origins to its future role, focusing on the external and to a lesser-degree internal, forces that have shaped UNCTAD's purpose and activities over the years.

Chapter 1 explores the situation prevailing at the time of the organization's creation. Chapters 2 and 3 focus on UNCTAD's first years and founding Secretary-General Raúl Prebisch's agenda of commodity price agreements and the generalized system of preferences. Chapters 4 and 5 discuss the reasons for the unraveling of UNCTAD's strategy to give substance to the demand for a new international economic order, describing how the North–South dialogue collapsed and how the debt crisis of the 1980s affected the solidarity of the Group of 77. These chapters also highlight two successful UNCTAD initiatives in the face of these events: the launch of the Debt Management and Financial Analysis System and the Trade and Development Report. Chapter 4 charts a decade-long reorientation of UNCTAD's priorities, under pressure from developed countries on the United Nations to reform itself. New leaders were more encouraging towards developing country integration into the GATT system, which led to the weakening of the unity of the Group of 77. UNCTAD eventually lost its negotiating status on trade matters, but found some new points of growth, particularly in the field of international investment. Chapter 7 looks at how UNCTAD undertook its positive trade agenda to adjust to the arrival on the international scene of the World Trade Organization. Chapter 8 brings the story up to date by chronicling the organizational streamlining which followed the report of the UNCTAD Panel of Eminent Persons, the changes in the tone of research and advocacy after the 2007-2008 financial and economic crisis, and the difficult negotiations at the 13th UNCTAD conference in Doha over the role of macroeconomics and finance in the organization's current mandate. Chapter 9 concludes with thoughts and reflections about UNCTAD's future role.

Transforming economies - Making industrial policy work for growth, jobs and development

Transforming economies: Making industrial policy work for growth, jobs and development
This publication is the work of three editors: Richard Kozul-Wright, Director of Vi's home at UNCTAD, the Division on Globalization and Development Strategies, and International Labour Organization's Senior Economist, Irmgard Nübler, and Assistant-Director General for Policy, José Manuel Salazar-Xirinachs.

The book asserts that no country has made the arduous journey from widespread rural poverty to post-industrial wealth without employing targeted and selective government policies to modify its economic structure and boost its economic dynamism. The process of structural transformation remains particularly challenging for developing countries because their efforts to upgrade take place in an interdependent world. To catch up, countries need to complete two different processes: first, the strengthening of capabilities that enable developing economies to trigger, accelerate and manage structural and technological transformation; and, second, the accumulation of productive capacities through a sustained process of investment.

However, mobilizing the resources to undertake investments in physical and human capital remains a major policy challenge for many developing countries. For instance, the presence of underemployed labour in most developing countries poses the particular challenge of how to achieve productivity growth and net job creation simultaneously, in order that the chosen growth path be both inclusive and sustainable.

The publication also presents a brief history of industrial policy and discusses the various economic models and frameworks for productive transformation policies, focusing on practical issues from design to implementation.

World Investment Report 2014

World Investment Report 2014: Action plan for investing in sustainable development goals
After a decline in 2012, global foreign direct investment flows rose by 9 percent in 2013, with growth expected to continue in the years to come. This demonstrates the potential of international investment, along with other financial resources, to help reach the goals of a post-2015 agenda for sustainable development.

Transnational corporations can support this effort by creating decent jobs, generating exports, promoting rights, respecting the environment, encouraging local content, paying fair taxes, and transferring capital, technology and business contacts to spur development.

This year's World Investment Report, proposes a global action plan to strengthen the role of businesses in achieving future sustainable development goals, and enhancing the private sector's positive economic, social and environmental impact. It also identifies the financing gap, especially in vulnerable economies, assesses the primary sources of funds for bridging it, and proposes policy options for the future.

A BRICS development bank: A dream coming true?

A BRICS development bank: A dream coming true?
This report, written by Stephany Griffith-Jones from Columbia University, is the latest addition to the UNCTAD Discussion Papers Series. The report documents the scale of financing needs in long-term investment in infrastructure and sustainable development in developing and emerging economies. It further argues that the bank should enhance the influence of BRICS (Brazil, the Russian Federation, India, China, and South Africa) and other developing countries in the international development architecture.

The reports starts by reminding the readers of the fundamental change in the international economy that took place during the last decade: emerging and developing countries have significantly increased their weight in the global GDP, and some of them have accumulated very large long-term foreign assets. A large part of these resources is invested in developed countries with relatively low yields, although unmet financing needs persist in the emerging and developing countries, where a deficit of up to around USD 1 trillion annually has been identified.

The large amount of reserves accumulated by developing and emerging economies could contribute to financing a new development bank that would be a complement, not a substitute, for existing financial institutions both in the public and the private sector. In this context, it is very welcome that the leaders of the BRICS approved in March 2013, during their meeting in Durban, the creation of a new Development Bank to finance investment in infrastructure and more sustainable development in BRICS and other emerging and developing countries.

The paper concludes by examining the way in which the BRICS development bank would cooperate with other development finance institutions both public and private.

?	Towards More Balanced Growth Strategies in Developing Countries: Issues Related to Market Size, Trade Balances and Purchasing Power

Towards more balanced growth strategies in developing countries: Issues related to market size, trade balances and purchasing power
The global crisis has disrupted the favorable external environment that prevailed over the past three decades and that made export-led development strategies viable, states this research paper by Vi contributor, Joerg Mayer, of UNCTAD's Division on Globalization and Development Strategies. However, export-led growth strategies must sooner or later reach their limits when many countries pursue them simultaneously: competition among economies on the basis of low unit labour costs and light taxation means a race to the bottom, mostly with little gains for economic development but always with potentially severe social consequences. Additionally, since the global crisis, the demand growth of developed countries has remained subjugated and is likely to remain weak for years to come.

The paper continues by suggesting that the decline in external demand can be compensated by increasing domestic demand while avoiding at the same time an import boom, which would cause balance of payments problems. For a successful shift towards domestic demand, countries need to adapt their production patterns to match more closely newly emerging demand patterns. This would result in new employment and wage opportunities, which would lead to increased domestic demand through higher wages, rather than rising household debt.

How are the poor affected by international trade in India: An empirical approach

How are the poor affected by international trade in India: An empirical approach
This report presents an alternative approach to analyzing the impact of international trade on poverty, namely, assessing the effect of international trade on the livelihoods of the poor, instead of estimating the "net" impact. One of the arguments supporting this approach is that international trade may produce both winners and losers: losses may occur to relatively poorer sections of society and gains to relatively well-off sections, or vice versa.

An extensive analysis is conducted of each of the four facets of human development: empowerment, productivity, equity and sustainability. Some of the key messages of the study refer to the need of increasing the participation of the poor in the sectors that are expanding through trade, improving their skills and bargaining power; developing stronger linkages between the organized and unorganized sectors of the economy; and ensuring gender-equitable distribution of the gains from trade.

Empirical insights on market access and foreign direct investment

Empirical insights on market access and foreign direct investment
The selection of a country in which to invest can be influenced by a number of factors. This study, authored by Vi trade and poverty project mentors, UNCTAD's Marco Fugazza and Claudia Trentini, focuses specifically on the influence of market access conditions on FDI decisions, using a unique dataset on bilateral FDI outward stocks and novel measures of market access constructed from disaggregated tariff and trade data. These different measures of market access helped the authors test the likelihood of various investment strategies of multinationals.

The empirical results suggest that the predominant forms of FDI globally have been the export platform FDI (aimed at exporting to neighboring countries in addition to serving the domestic market) and the complex-vertical FDI (cost-cutting fragmentation of production to the most competitive locations). This is particularly true for FDI from OECD to non-OECD countries. However, FDI from OECD to other OECD countries does not necessarily take on a precise form. As all the above forms of FDI are affected by market access conditions, the study stresses that both the location and the form of FDI can be influenced by trade policy decisions, as observed over the last two decades.




UNCTAD's green FDI is a free online platform which brings together an array of resources on low-carbon foreign direct investment (FDI). The platform aims to strengthen the capacity of investment promotion professionals to attract and retain green FDI, and contribute to the efforts of investment promotion agencies in promoting FDI into green sectors. Its database provides access to the latest information on research, trends, policy, best practice and tools.

Vi partner, the International Trade Centre

Vi partner, the International Trade Centre, has recently launched Standards Map 2.0, a redesigned, more interactive and more user-friendly version of this market analysis tool. It features additional modules which allow users to identify, scan and compare more than130 standards, codes of conduct and audit protocols applicable to more than 80 sectors.

Standards Map provides comprehensive, verified and transparent information on voluntary sustainability standards and other similar initiatives covering issues such as food quality and safety.

Investment Policy Hub

UNCTAD has released a new database containing the text of more than 2,000 bilateral investment treaties (BIT) and 300 other international investment agreements (IIA) dating from 1959, making it the world's most comprehensive collection of IIA. The user-friendly database allows access to up-to-date information on the total number of IIA concluded by an economy or country grouping, sort treaties by different criteria, review the most recently concluded IIA, or find a country's Model BIT. It also allows for advanced searches by type of agreement, geographical region, country grouping, treaty status, full text, and treaty language.

The database can be accessed through the UNCTAD Investment Policy Hub, which offers investment policymakers, academia and other stakeholders a consolidated view of investment matters ranging from national and international investment measures to cutting-edge UNCTAD publications and reports, news and discussions.

UNCTAD Virtual Institute

Mark your calendars: Vi international seminar on trade and poverty, September 8-10
In Geneva in September? Don't miss the opportunity to participate in the Vi international seminar launching the findings of 11 papers examining the impact of trade on poverty in 10 countries around the world. The seminar is the culmination of the Vi's three-year capacity building project co-funded by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs and the Government of Finland.

On the programme are top researchers in the field, including Dartmouth College's Nina Pavcnik and Vi online course co-author, Nicolás Depetris-Chauvin, along with project mentors, UNCTAD's Alessandro Nicita, Amelia Santos-Paulino, Marco Fugazza and International Trade Centre's Marion Jansen, will be on hand to share their insights and expertise.

Seating is limited, so please let us know if you plan to attend by sending an e-mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by August 31.

UNCTAD Virtual Institute

Government of Finland

Scholarships available: First edition of Vi online course on non-tariff measures - Deadline: July 24
The Vi and the Trade Information Section of UNCTAD's Division on International Trade in Goods and Services and Commodities are now accepting applications from government officials, academics and practitioners to participate in the first edition of the online course on non-tariff measures (NTM) and data collection, to be held September 1 to October 19.

Part of the UNCTAD-led international effort to improve access and increase transparency with regard to NTMs, the course was developed to train experts around the world who can effectively collect and classify information about these measures.

All selected participants will be exempt from course fees, and will receive the course CD/DVD free-of-charge. Top graduates will become part of the UNCTAD NTM consultancy roster, and may be considered for future data collection or related work.

Applications must be submitted online no later than July 24.


UNCTAD Virtual Institute

Vi national workshops in the Gambia, Bangladesh and Nepal: Places available
The Vi capacity building project for the least developed countries and sub-Saharan Africa, funded by the Government of Finland, will deliver three workshops for core university members in the Gambia, Bangladesh and Nepal in August, October and November. The hosting universities have generously agreed to make room for other academics in the area.

The workshop for the University of the Gambia, focusing on trade empirics, will take place August 12-15. Four places are available. Interested candidates may contact Vi core member coordinator, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Development policies post 2015 will be the topic for the workshop at Nepal's Mid-Western University. Scheduled for October 30 - November 1, there are up to seven places open. To apply for attendance, contact Vi core member coordinator, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The workshop on trade and development for Bangladesh's Jagannath University will take place November 3-6. Up to five places may be available. To apply, contact Vi core member coordinator, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., by end August.

UNCTAD experts, Marco Fugazza, of the Division on International Trade in Goods and Services and Commodities, and Rolf Trager, of the Division for Africa, Least Developed Countries and Special Programmes, will deliver the training.


UNCTAD invites applications for regional course on trade and development - Deadline: August 8
Vi members from Western Asia may apply to attend the 30th UNCTAD flagship course on key international economic issues to be held at the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, Sultanate of Oman, October 19 to November 6.

The six-module course will focus on the links between trade, investment, finance and development, and will culminate with a simulation exercise on national policy objectives and multilateral trade negotiations on services. The course will be given in English with simultaneous interpretation into Arabic.

Although the course is primarily aimed at government officials, academics can also be considered. Selected participants will receive hotel accommodation and sufficient funds to cover daily meals and miscellaneous expenses. However, they will be responsible for their own travel costs. Travel funds covering the least costly fare will be provided for participants from least developed countries.

All applications must be routed through the member state's permanent mission in Geneva.

ICPE MBA discounts for Vi members

Slovenian member offers discount on MBA programme for Vi members - Deadline: September 15
Vi think tank member, the International Center for Promotion of Enterprises, is accepting applications for its International MBA Programme, offered in cooperation with the University of Ljubljana (FELU). Since the academic year 1989-90, the programme has graduated more than 650 participants from 45 countries.

The two-year programme, conducted by leading Slovenian and foreign faculty of the FELU, provides all core management concepts, as well as essential theoretical knowledge for successful managers. Apart from the academic focus, participants of the programme have a unique opportunity to experience management practices of private sector enterprises in Slovenia, and are exposed to governmental institutions during study visits, organized in accordance with the participants' interests.

Full tuition for the programme is EUR 7,000 annually. However, Vi members benefit from reduced fees of EUR 5,750 per year.

Applications must be submitted by September 15. For more information, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Unitar online course

Fellowships available for Asia and the Pacific region: UNITAR/UNEP online course- Deadline July 25
The United Nations Institute for Training and Research and the United Nations Environment Programme are offering 40 fellowships for participants from the Asia and Pacific region working in the public sector, academia or NGOs, for its online course, "Introduction to Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP) in Asia."

Participants will learn about various concepts and facets of the SCP, as well as regional, national and sector-specific challenges and opportunities to implement SCP policies. They will also develop basic skills for applying the SCP concept in a real world economic, policy and professional context.

The five-module course, scheduled for September 1 to October 24, is geared toward high- to mid-level civil servants in the Asia-Pacific region, directly involved in the process of developing, implementing and evaluating policies supporting the transition towards SCP.


Vi members from Russia and China contribute to UNCTAD conferences
Academics from Vi member universities in Russia and China were in Geneva this quarter to take part in two important UNCTAD events.

Tatiana Isachenko (pictured, left), of Russian Vi members, the State University Higher School of Economics and the Moscow State Institute of International Relations, was elected chair of the UNCTAD Multi-year Expert Meeting on Promoting Economic Integration and Cooperation held May 19-20.

Zhongxiu Zhao, of Vi Chinese core member, Beijing's University of International Business and Economics, served as panelist of an UNCTAD 2014 Public Symposium roundtable exploring policy measures to tackle problems associated with growing inequality, June 19.

Irina Medvedkova (left) and Oleg Savelyev

Vi coordinator appointed country representative in Geneva
Former core Vi member coordinator at the Russian Federation's State University Higher School of Economics (HSE), Irina Medvedkova, was recently appointed First Secretary of her country's Permanent Mission to the World Trade Organization. Her appointment comes after long-term research and consulting work in support of Russia's WTO accession. In her new function, she will be responsible for services, in particular the post-Bali programme, new negotiations and rules.

Temporarily taking over as core Vi member coordinator is Oleg Savelyev, deputy head of the Department of Trade Policy at HSE's Faculty of World Economy and International Affairs.

Isaac Shinyekwa and Willy-Marcel Ndayitwayeko

New doctors in the Vi family
Vi members in Uganda and Burundi, Isaac Shinyekwa (pictured, left) and Willy-Marcel Ndayitwayeko, report success in defending their PhD theses. Participants of the 2011 workshop on tools and methods for trade and trade policy analysis and the 2012 online course on trade and poverty, they both say their involvement with the Vi contributed greatly to their achievement.

"UNCTAD Vi significantly trained and made me what I am today," writes Shinyekwa, who also participated in the Vi national workshop on panel data methods held in Kampala in 2011. "During the policy analysis training in Geneva I was exposed to methods that played an instrumental role towards my progress. Specifically, the Partial Equilibrium Model using the World Bank SMART-WITS model was instrumental for one chapter of the thesis."

Shinyekwa was awarded a PhD in economics from Uganda's Makerere University, upon completion of his thesis, "The East African integration: Implications for sectoral, trade, revenue effects and household welfare." He has also published two papers using knowledge gained from Vi training activities: "Trade creation & diversion effects of the East African Community regional trade agreement: A gravity model analysis" and "Comparing the performance of Uganda's intra-East African Community trade and other trading blocs: A gravity model analysis."

Ndayitwayeko, also Vi member coordinator at new core university, Université du Burundi, completed work on his PhD in agricultural economics at Vi affiliate Kenyan member, Moi University. His thesis describes trade performance, estimates the determinants of food imports, and investigates the impact of regional trade agreements on Burundi's trade potential.

Vi staff, David Zavaleta and Catarina Mastellaro

Vi intern, Tarinee Youkhaw

Vi people on the move
David Zavaleta, who has served as Vi economist since February, will conclude his engagement with us in July. While at the Vi, David led the delivery of the second edition of our online course, and provided mentoring to researchers involved in the Vi project on trade and poverty. He was also involved in reviewing the trade and gender teaching material currently developed by the Vi and UNCTAD's trade, gender and development team. David returns to his post of professor at the Universidad Católica Boliviana San Pablo in his native Bolivia, where he and his wife are expecting twins.

Vi intern Catarina Mastellaro successfully completed her internship at the end of May, and will remain with us through the summer to assist with the implementation of the trade and poverty project activities and the development of our upcoming online course on trade and gender.

Taking over the Vi internship for the next six months is Tarinee Youkhaw, a student in the Master in International Affairs programme at Vi Swiss affiliate member, the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva. Her interest lies in the field of trade and sustainable development. While she is with us, Tarinee will assist in developing multimedia teaching materials, updating the Vi digital library, producing articles for the website and the newsletter, and preparing semi-annual publication packages for our member institutions.

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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The UNCTAD Virtual Institute on Trade and Development is a capacity-building and networking programme aiming to strengthen the capacities of academic institutions in developing countries and countries with economies in transition to teach and research trade issues, and to foster links between research and policymaking.


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