A partnership with academia

Building knowledge for trade and development

Vi Quarterly Newsletter

Issue #43 - December 2014 - Welcome to the Vi quarterly newsletter

The Vi team wishes you a prosperous new year.
If the newsletter does not display correctly in your mail client, please check the online version.


Five more members for the Vi this quarter
One think tank and four universities joined the Virtual Institute this quarter, increasing Vi membership to 111 institutions representing 54 countries worldwide.

East African Research Capacity Development Foundation

Joining October 13 was the East African Research Capacity Development Foundation (EARCDF), the first Vi think tank member from the United Republic of Tanzania. The idea of membership was first discussed in 2012 by former UNCTAD staff member, Sam Laird, and EARCDF's trade economist, Johansein Rutaihwa. The application was supported by H.E. Modest J. Mero, Ambassador of the United Republic of Tanzania to the United Nations in Geneva.

An independent research institution, EARCDF's provides advisory services, data and information on regional integration, trade and investment negotiations, trade facilitation, climate change, food security, trade competitiveness and sustainable development. It also offers training and seminars, on topics such as trade and investment negotiations, post-Bali trade facilitation, data collection for the global competitiveness report, and the impact of the tripartite FTA negotiations on Tanzania's market access and the country's industrial base.

Vi activities will be coordinated by Foundation Director, Valentine Karugaba, whose areas of research include economic development, trade in goods and services, and trade facilitation. He will be assisted by Rutaihwa, whose recent papers focus on Tanzania's competitiveness and trade performance, trade facilitation in the East African Community, and FDI spillovers in Tanzania's manufacturing sector.

University of Jyväskylä

On November 6, the Vi welcomed the first institution from Finland, the University of Jyväskylä (JYU), a multidisciplinary research university also representing the Finnish University Partnership for International Development (UniPID) in UNCTAD's academic network. Contacts with UniPID were facilitated by Kent Wilska, Commercial Counsellor at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland, Vi's loyal supporter since 2006.

JYI's School of Business and Economics (JSBE) offers a full range of Bachelor's, Master's and PhD programmes, some of which are taught in English. Research at JSBE focuses on policy-relevant and managerial-relevant issues relating to Corporate Environmental Management, International Macro and Finance, and Entrepreneurship and International Business. JYI's Department of Social Sciences and Philosophy (DSSP) offers international Master's programmes in Development and International Cooperation, and in Cultural Policy, and an interdisciplinary module titled “Living with Globalization.” DSSP's research areas include sustainability and social transformation, and transformation of welfare policies and practices.

JYU's Vi member coordinator, Melissa Plath, holds a Master's degree in Development and International Cooperation and manages UniPID's Virtual Studies in Sustainable Development. Also supporting Vi activities is JSBE Dean, Hanna-Leena Pesonen.

Covenant University

November 21 brought the Vi its second member in Nigeria, Covenant University. Vi membership was the initiative of lecturer, Evans Osabuohien, a Vi associate member since 2011 and research fellow at Vi German think tank member, the German Development Institute.

Covenant University's Department of Economics and Development Studies offers BSc, MSc and PhD programmes in economics and in demography and social statistics. Research covers a variety of issues related to development, including: economic growth and employment and their links with macroeconomic policies, trade liberalization, foreign direct investment, technology and innovation, and the institutional framework; trade in services; regional integration; migrant workers' remittances; structural transformation, and the role of agriculture in poverty alleviation.

Vi member coordinator, Osabuohien, holds a PhD in Economics and teaches courses on macroeconomics, mathematics for economists, and petroleum economics, among others. His research interests lie in the area of international and institutional economics, and development. He will be supported by Henry Okodua, also holder of a PhD in Economics with a specialization in international economics.

University of Belgrade

On November 24, the University of Belgrade became the first institution to represent Serbia in the Vi network. Contact was established through UNCTAD's Mohan Panicker in 2012, after the university first hosted the UNCTAD flagship course on key international economic issues.

The university's Faculty of Economics, founded in 1937 as the Graduate School for Economy and Trade, offers undergraduate, graduate and post-graduate degrees in Economics. Within these programmes, undergraduate students can opt for specializations in International Economics and Foreign Trade; Trade Marketing and Management; Tourism and Hospitality Management; or Finance, Banking and Insurance. The specializations offered at the graduate level include International Economic Relations; Economic Analysis and Policy; Economic Policy and Development; Quantitative Analysis; and Economics and Management of the Energy Sector. The PhD programme also offers courses in International Economics. Research is carried out through the Faculty of Economics Research Centre.

Cooperation with the Vi will be coordinated by Predrag Bjelic, a Vi associate member since 2008. Holder of a PhD in economics and professor at the Department of International Economic Relations, he teaches courses on international trade, trade policy, electronic commerce, and economics of the European Union. His research focuses on trade policy, in particular in relation to the WTO, non-tariff barriers, European integration, and electronic commerce. He will be supported by his colleague Jelena Cvetanovi, who works as an international relations officer.

East China Normal University

Finally, on November 26, the Vi welcomed its fifth Chinese member, the East China Normal University (ECNU). Discussions date back to back to 2009, when ECNU’s Laike Yang participated in a workshop organized in Berlin in the framework of the capacity-building project on Economic Development Studies implemented by Vi core German member, the University of Applied Sciences - HTW Berlin. Yang also contributed to Vi South-South teaching activities by delivering a block of lectures on the Chinese economy at Vi member universities in Uganda and Tanzania in 2010.

ECNU's Department of International Economics offers Bachelor’s and Master's degrees in international trade and international economics, a Master's degree in international business and a PhD in international economics. The main areas of research undertaken are trade in services, regional economic integration, China's foreign trade policy, trade and environment, and trade relations and conflicts.

The cooperation with the Vi will be coordinated by Yang, Dean of the Department of International Economics. Holder of a PhD in economics, he teaches courses on Chinese economy and Chinese foreign trade, as well as trade and environment, and international trade. His research focuses on trade, environment and climate change, Asian economic integration, and China-US trade relations. Yang will receive support from his colleague Hao Zhang, a PhD in Economics responsible for courses in international trade theory and in trade in services. Her research interests include trade in services, free trade agreements, and multilateral trade negotiations.


Regional Launch of Trade policies, household welfare and poverty alleviation: Case studies from the Virtual Institute academic network in Peru

Regional Launch of Trade policies, household welfare and poverty alleviation: Case studies from the Virtual Institute academic network in Viet Nam


Government of Finland

Vi trade and poverty book launched in Latin America and Asia
In an effort to make its recent book "Trade policies, household welfare and poverty alleviation: Case studies from the Virtual Institute academic network" better known to academic and policymaking audiences, the Vi organized regional launches of the publication in Lima (Peru), Alajuela (Costa Rica), Hanoi (Viet Nam) and Manila (the Philippines) in the last quarter of the year.

The book is the outcome of a three-year capacity-building project which trained developing country researchers on the analysis of the impact of trade on household welfare and then coached them in the development of case studies on trade and poverty in their countries. Funded by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs and the Government of Finland, the project generated 11 studies, including four written by researchers from Latin America -- Argentina (2), Cost Rica and Peru -- and three from Asia -- China, the Philippines and Viet Nam.

The Latin American studies presented at the launches looked into: the impact of wheat export restrictions on urban households in Argentina (Paula Calvo, Universidad de San Andrés); the welfare effects of the tariff reduction for yellow corn in Peru (Cecilia Matta Jara and Ana Vera Ganoza, Ministry of Trade and Tourism); the impact of trade liberalization of environmental products on welfare, trade, and the environment in Argentina (María Priscila Ramos, Universidad Argentina de la Empresa); and the welfare effects of a change in the trade policy regime for rice in Costa Rica (Carlos Umaña, Academia de Centroamérica). The Asian studies focused on the impact of the 2008 rice crisis in the Philippines (George Manzano, University of Asia and the Pacific (UA&P)); a proposal for a large-scale field project in the production and commercialization of rice (Ngoc Quang Pham, ILO Country Office for Viet Nam); and a study on the consumption effect of the renminbi appreciation in rural China (Dahai Fu, Central University of Business and Economics).

During the launch in Lima on November 7, organized in cooperation with Vi core member, Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú, the Vice Minister of Foreign Trade, Edgar Vásquez Vela, highlighted the importance of the research funded by the project, and valued the Vi approach to capacity building for policy-oriented research. As the Vi seeks to create synergies and enhance collaboration between policymakers and researchers, in his view, this project has clearly helped in strengthening such a relationship in Peru.

The launch in Costa Rica, held November 10, was hosted by INCAE Business School. During his speech at the event, Alberto Trejos, former Minister of Foreign Trade of Costa Rica, stressed the need to produce high-quality and relevant research along the lines of the Vi compendium in order to properly assess the benefits of trade and its impact on poverty.

The launch in Vietnam, held December 5, was hosted by the Centre for Analysis and Forecasting (CAF) of the Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences. The launch In the Philippines, held December 8, was organized by UA&P's School of Economics.

"The topic of the book is very relevant," said CAF's director Nguyen Thang during the launch in Hanoi. "The methodology is very useful and I do hope that the researchers in Viet Nam will apply and test it using Vietnamese data."

"Mentors and policymakers gave many insights which were very useful and assisted us in the application of the methodology to an issue facing policymakers in our countries," said Filipino author, George Manzano during the launch at UA&P.



Government of Finland

Regional Vi workshops on trade and poverty analysis train 73 in Latin America and Asia
To complement the regional launches of the Vi trade and poverty book, "Trade policies, household welfare and poverty alleviation: Case studies from the Virtual Institute academic network," the Vi conducted four workshops for local researchers on the methodology used to assess the impact of trade on poverty in November and December.

The aim was to enhance the analytical capacities of researchers in developing countries, and encourage more studies on how trade and trade policy affect the poor. The launches and workshops were also an opportunity to better connect researchers involved in the Vi Trade and Poverty project with researchers and policymakers in their countries.

Vi economist, Cristian Ugarte, combined theoretical lectures with hands-on practice sessions to introduce researchers to the methodologies used in the Vi trade and poverty project.

Vi holds empirical workshops on trade and poverty in Latin America

The Latin American workshops took place November 4-6 in Lima (Peru) and November 11-13 in Alajuela (Costa Rica). Hosted by the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Tourism of Peru and the INCAE Business School, the workshops were funded by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs and the Government of Finland.

Feedback from the 19 Peruvian and 10 Costa Rican trainees indicates that the workshop exceeded their expectations and substantially increased their knowledge of trade and poverty analysis. They also expressed their intention to use their new knowledge in the analysis of trade liberalization, trade agreements, and trade-related and other policies, and their consequences for household welfare and poverty in their countries.

Asian trade and poverty workshop


The workshops in Asia were held in Viet Nam December 2-5 and in the Philippines December 9-11. They were hosted by the Centre for Analysis and Forecasting (CAF) in Hanoi, and the University of Asia and the Pacific (UA&P) in Manila.

The Hanoi workshop attracted 23 researchers from five universities and four research institutions. The audience in Manila consisted of 21 participants from two universities and three governmental agencies.

"I will seek for research ideas using this methodology to investigate the relationship between trade and agriculture in Viet Nam," said one participant. "I intend to use knowledge from the workshop to do research measuring the impact of policies resulting in price changes," mentioned another.


Vi fellowship recipients design new courses for Uganda and Kenya
The Vi, with support from the Government of Finland, awarded two fellowships to academics from two African member universities who sought UNCTAD expertise as they developed curricula for their students.

From left: Michael Wamai (pictured, First Secretary at the Permanent Mission of Uganda in Geneva, Vi Chief, Vlasta Macku, and Vi fellow, Timothy Esemu, of Makerere University Business School


Timothy Esemu (pictured, far right), of Vi core Ugandan member, the Makerere University Business School (MUBS), developed a new course on Global Value Chains Management during his fellowship, September 22 - October 31. The course will be included in MUBS' Master's in International Business as of February.

UNCTAD's Rashmi Banga, of the Division on Globalization and Development Strategies, and Axèle Giroud and Fulvia Farinelli, of the Division on Investment and Enterprise, along with experts from the International Trade Centre (ITC), helped Esemu develop the content of the course, identify suitable readings, and prepare lecture materials. He also attended several GVC-related meetings at UNCTAD, the World Trade Organization and ITC.

"(The fellowship) has helped me to widen my multidisciplinary approach to the teaching of GVC management, especially the nexus between theory, practice and policy," Esemu said.

"The course is very timely and could provide useful tools to the government trade negotiating team", said Michael Wamai (pictured, left), First Secretary at the Permanent Mission of Uganda in Geneva, during a meeting with Esemu. "We have to create linkages between researchers and policymakers, and interest people in the government to get involved in this course."

From left: Fredrik Matwang'a, Counsellor at the Permanent Mission of Kenya, Vi Chief, Vlasta Macku, and Tabitha Kiriti Nganga (pictured, right), Vi member coordinator at the University of Nairobi.

Government of Finland

The second fellow of the quarter, Tabitha Kiriti Nganga (pictured, right), Vi coordinator at Kenyan core member, the University of Nairobi, developed the curriculum for a proposed Bachelor’s programme on international economics and trade during her Vi fellowship, October 6 to November 14.

During her stay at UNCTAD, she held consultations with the Vi team about the overall thrust of the programme and the courses that would be included. She also had access to curricula of similar programmes at other Vi member universities, and met with a number of UNCTAD experts to discuss the content of individual courses: e-commerce with Torbjorn Fredriksson, of UNCTAD’s Division on Technology and Logistics (DTL); trade negotiations with Miguel Bautista, of the Intergovernmental Support Service; regional integration with Igor Paunovic, of the Division on Globalization and Development Strategies; competition law and policy with Elizabeth Gachuiri and Hassan Qaqaya, of the Division on International Trade in Goods and Services and Commodities (DITC); trade in commodities and agricultural policy with Samuel Gayi, of the Special Unit on Commodities; and trade facilitation and logistics with DTL’s Jan Hoffmann and Poul Hanson. She also gained insights into other current topics through discussions with Simonetta Zarrilli, of the Trade, Gender and Development Section, and Sonia Boffa, of the Division for Africa, Least Developed Countries and Special Programmes.

“I have met with a lot of help from everyone that I interacted with, and the curriculum is 100 percent complete,” said Kiriti Nganga, who rated her fellowship experience as having exceeded her expectations. “The experts that I met gave me a lot of reading material and expert advice.”

"During our studies, we learn economics on academic subjects,” said Fredrik Matwang'a (pictured, left), Counsellor at the Permanent Mission of Kenya during a meeting to discuss the proposed curriculum. “There is a missing link in how we connect this academic perspective with policies."


Vi national workshops train 63 in Nepal and Kenya
The Vi organized workshops led by UNCTAD experts for 47 participants from core Nepalese member, Mid-Western University, and 16 participants from core Kenyan member, the University of Nairobi (UON).

First Vi capacity-building activity for Nepal trains 47

The Vi workshop for Nepal, delivered by Rolf Traeger, of the Division for Africa, Least Developed Countries and Special Programmes, took place October 30 to November 1. Focusing on Post-2015 development policies, the workshop was complemented by a policy dialogue on millennium development goals (MDGs) and the least developed countries attended by 30 participants from government and academia.

Traeger opened the workshop by presenting the rationale and origins of the MDGs, as well as their structure and background institutional machinery, before moving on to the analysis of their impact and the shortcomings in their formulation and implementation. He then focused on the progress toward the MDGs in developing and the least developed countries (LDCs) and particularly in Nepal, and traced the way from MDGs to their successor, the upcoming Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The workshop concluded with sessions looking at the post-2015 context for development -- in particular with regard to LDCs – and the domestic and international policies required to address the priority needs of these countries in the area of economic development.

Group work gave participants the opportunity to discuss measures and policies put in place by Nepal in pursuit of the MDGs, and to present their views on the development priorities for Nepal in the post-2015 context.

Food security topic of Vi workshop for Kenya

Government of Finland

Participants of the Vi workshop for Kenya, held November 24-25, included post-graduate students and lecturers from UON, Egerton University and Kenyatta University, as well as representatives from the Ministry of Agriculture.

Delivered by Samuel Gayi, Head of UNCTAD's Special Unit on Commodities, the objective of the workshop was to enhance participants' knowledge and skills with regard to the relationship between food security and trade, an important topic for the country, given that although Kenya has liberalized its economy, more than 10 million of its people still suffer from food insecurity.

"I gained insight into current issues and trends on food security debate and the role of international trade in promoting security in Africa," one of the participants said. "This will be useful when writing policy advisory papers to policymakers ahead of WTO related meetings," said another.

The last session of the workshop was dedicated to group work on the causes of food insecurity in Kenya and the policy measures that each group would propose to the government to address the situation.


South-South teaching supports new Master's in Kenya

Government of Finland

South-South teaching supports new Master's in Kenya
The Vi, with support from the government of Finland, facilitated a South-South capacity-building activity between Kenyan members, the University of Nairobi (UON) and Moi University, November 3-14.

The cooperation involved the delivery of two trade courses by UON's Bethuel Kinuthia for Moi's Master's programme in International Economics and Trade, created in 2013 by Moi's Mark Korir during a Vi fellowship.

This first course, also attended by PhD students from Moi, covered world and regional trade, with a focus on Africa, the East African region and Kenya; trade theory and policy concerning natural resources; trade and environment; competition policy and consumer protection; and multilateral negotiations on agriculture. The second course familiarized the students with trends and the measurement of trade in services and the links between services trade and development.

"The students and lecturers welcomed the idea of a lecturer from the University of Nairobi coming over to teach at Moi,” writes Korir. “The students felt that this was a high profile course that was supported by UNCTAD. This was important since the Master's in International Economics and Trade curriculum is new, yet we did not have adequate capacity to deliver the courses."

  UNCTAD research reaches 308 in six countries through Vi fall videoconferences
The Vi organized seven videoconference presentations featuring UNCTAD's latest findings on macroeconomics and investment for university members in Russia, Argentina, Tanzania, Colombia, Peru and Belarus during the last quarter of the year.
Vi Chief, Vlasta Macku (left) and Jörg Mayer, of UNCTAD's Division on Globalization and Development Strategies.

The first videoconference, held October 15, gathered 80 students and lecturers from the Moscow State Institute of International Relations, the St. Petersburg State University and the North-West Institute of Management for a videoconference presentation of the Trade and Development Report (TDR) 2014.

The findings of the report, this year focusing on global governance and policy space for development, were presented by TDR co-author, Jörg Mayer (pictured, right), of the Division on Globalization and Development Strategies (GDS).

"The world economy has not yet embarked on a path of sustained and rapid recovery," Mayer said.

The roots of the crisis -- increasing income inequality and financial deregulation -- are not being addressed through appropriate policy measures, leading to a combination of weak demand in the real economy and artificially boosted asset bubbles in developed countries.

Alfredo Calcagno, UNCTAD Division on Globalization and Development Strategies

"The current policies aimed at structural reforms which consist of a greater flexibility in the labour market will only further aggravate the situation," said TDR team leader, GDS' Alfredo Calcagno, during the Vi videoconference for Argentina. The alternative proposed by UNCTAD is to implement coordinated expansionary policy across the different countries of the world, he added. Such policy would comprise three "R's": reflation in the form of government spending and credit policies, regulation of the financial system, and redistribution policies.

Held October 23, the presentation attracted 21 lecturers and students of the Global Studies Programme of Vi core university member, Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales (FLACSO).

Vi Chief, Vlasta Macku (left), and Pilar Fajarnés, of UNCTAD's Division on Globalization and Development Strategies.

The TDR 14 was also the topic for the first Vi videoconference for Tanzania, held November 10, and gathering 31 students, staff and experts from Vi core member, the University of Dar es Salaam Business School, affiliate member, the Open University of Tanzania, and country offices of TradeMark East Africa in Tanzania and Kenya.

"The external economic environment for developing countries has become more complicated," said TDR co-author, Pilar Fajarnés (pictured, right), also of UNCTAD's GDS. “Two major sources of developing countries' growth - import demand from developed countries, and growing commodity prices, will not be able to play the same role as in the past.”

In this situation, developing countries need to find new drivers of growth. A way forward would be "to rebalance the growth strategies by putting less emphasis on exports to developed countries, and focus more on domestic and regional markets," she suggested. This would require structural transformation of their economies, using industrial policies and public investment in infrastructure and human capital.

Vi Chief, Vlasta Macku (left), and Alfredo Calcagno, UNCTAD Division on Globalization and Development Strategies

GDS' Calcagno (pictured, right) agreed during the Vi videoconference for Colombia, explaining that addressing the current structural weaknesses and ensuring inclusive growth in developing countries requires both policy space (i.e. the legal framework allowing the use of industrial policy instruments) and fiscal space (i.e. financial resources to undertake such policies).

"Some multilateral, and in particular bilateral agreements, contain limitations with regard to the use of industrial policy instruments," Calcagno said, "but there is still some margin of manoeuvre. Developing countries should therefore carefully consider potential loss of policy space when engaging in bilateral and regional trade and investment agreements."

The presentation, organized as part of activities of the Trade, Investment and Development Observatory at Vi core Colombian member, Universidad EAFIT, was attended by 21 students and lecturers from the university and representatives of the press.

Vi Chief, Vlasta Macku (left), and Alfredo Calcagno, UNCTAD Division on Globalization and Development Strategies

Governments will need to finance the investment and other public spending required for development, Calcagno (pictured, right) said during the Vi videoconference for Peru. This will require stable and long-term capital inflows, but even more importantly, mobilization of domestic fiscal revenues.

"A large loss of revenue for developing countries is currently due to 'tax optimization' by international companies and 'tax competition' among developing countries. This situation will need to be addressed both at the national level and through international action," he added.

Thirty-nine students from Vi core member, the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru (PUCP) joined the videoconference November 19. The event was moderated by PUCP's Oriana Sanchez, with comments from Javier Rosas, Director-General of the Economic Studies Office at the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Tourism, and Elmer Schialer, Director of International Economic Negotiations at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, currently Peru’s delegate to the Andean Community Secretariat.

Vi Chief, Vlasta Macku (left) and Jörg Mayer, of UNCTAD's Division on Globalization and Development Strategies.

"At the national level, countries can try to renegotiate contracts in extractive industries," GDS' Mayer (pictured, right) said during the Vi videoconference for Belarus. "They can also adopt legislation preventing the misuse of transfer pricing. At the international level, led for example by the OECD or the G-20, there have recently been some initiatives that go in the right direction as they improve transparency and constrain tax evasion. A possible UN-led multilateral framework, which would for instance extend transparency commitments also to private enterprises, could also be envisaged."

The event, held December 2, was attended by 35 students and lecturers from Vi core member, the Belarus State Economic University.

The topic shifted to the World Investment Report (WIR) 2014 when 81 students and lecturers from three Russian university members joined UNCTAD's Kalman Kalotay, of the Division on Investment and Enterprise, for a Vi videoconference on December 10.

"The Russian Federation alone received 82 percent of FDI transition-country inflows, close to USD 80 billion, while its outflows were also record-high, exceeding USD 90 billion," Kalotay told participants from the St. Petersburg State University, the Saint Petersburg State University of Economics and the North-West Institute of Management. "The coming years will show whether this growth is sustainable or not."

  155 students from three countries take part in six Vi training programmes
The Vi organized six study tours and visits for students of university members in China, Colombia and Germany this quarter.
Chinese students in Geneva for fifth Vi study tour

The fifth annual study tour for Vi core Chinese member, the University of International Business and Economics (UIBE), brought 27 students to Geneva September 29-October 3.

The one-week programme on trade and development, with a special focus on China, was delivered by experts from UNCTAD divisions and Vi partner organizations, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), the International Trade Centre (ITC) and the World Trade Organization (WTO).

UNCTAD sessions included an introduction to the organization's work; trends and challenges in the world economy; foreign direct investment; global value chains; trade facilitation; and technology and innovation. The WTO sessions focused on the Doha negotiations, China’s dispute cases and its latest trade policy review. During the ITC sessions, the students learned about ITC’s market research and analysis services, in particular Trade Map and Market Access Map. The students also visited the Permanent Mission of China and WIPO, where the lectures focused on the link between intellectual property and development.

Newest Colombian affiliate member visits UNCTAD

On October 7, the Vi hosted the first study visit for its latest Colombian affiliate member, Universidad de la Salle.

The 26 students and faculty members heard from UNCTAD experts, Simonetta Zarrilli, of UNCTAD’s Division on International Trade in Goods and Services, and Commodities, about the links between trade and gender; from Alex Izurieta, of UNCTAD's Division on Globalization and Development Strategies, about this year’s Trade and Development Report; and from Kalman Kalotay, of UNCTAD's Division on Investment and Enterprise, about the latest World Investment Report.

Second UNCTAD study visit for Colombian affiliate

The second study visit for Colombian affiliate member, Universidad Sergio Arboleda, held October 27, gathered 37 Master's in International Trade students at UNCTAD October 27.

The day's training programme included presentations on the findings of the latest Trade and Development Report (TDR) by Alex Izurieta, of UNCTAD's Division on Globalization and Development Strategies; the World Investment Report (WIR) by Nicole Moussa, of UNCTAD's Division on Investment and Enterprise (DIAE); and UNCTAD’s work on the promotion of entrepreneurship by DIAE's Cristina Martinez.

Core German member students complete fourth annual Vi study visit

The fourth annual Vi study visit for German core member, HTW Berlin – University of Applied Sciences, brought 36 students and two lecturers to UNCTAD November 7 for a half-day training session.

Alfredo Calcagno, of the Division on Globalization and Development Strategies, introduced the students to the work and key objectives of UNCTAD, and presented the findings of the latest edition of the organization’s flagship publication, the Trade and Development Report (TDR). Afterward, Vi’s Susana Olivares acquainted the students with the Vi website and online resources and presented current internship opportunities with the Vi and the United Nations. The visit ended with a guided tour of the Palais des Nations.

Finally, the sixth Vi study tour for Colombian member universities brought 29 students and five lecturers from six universities to Geneva November 17-21.

The programme included 14 sessions covering development and industrial policies; foreign direct investment; science and technology; the world economy; and international trade negotiations. The lectures were delivered by experts from UNCTAD's divisions on Globalization and Development Strategies, Technology and Logistics, Investment and Enterprise, and Africa and the Least Developed Countries. The students also attended presentations at the International Labour Organization (ILO), the International Trade Centre (ITC) and the World Trade Organization (WTO).

The students, from Universidad EAN, Universidad Javeriana, Universidad EAFIT, Universidad Jorge Tadeo Lozano, Universidad de la Sabana, and Universidad ICESI -- also met with both ambassadors of their country's permanent missions, Juan José Quintana (UN) and Gabriel Duque (WTO), to discuss Colombia’s participation in multilateral organizations and global trade negotiations.

 Joseph Muvawala, Executive Director of the National Planning Authority

Vi members in Kenya and Uganda conduct national launches of UNCTAD's LDC report
Vi Kenyan member coordinator, Tabitha Kiriti-Nganga, and recent Vi fellow, Uganda's Timothy Esemu, lent a hand to UNCTAD by organizing national launches of the latest Least Developed Countries (LDC) Report November 27.

In Kenya, the launch was conducted at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade
by Kiriti-Nganga, who was approached by the LDC Report team while on a Vi fellowship in Geneva. The launch counted with the participation of Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohammed and Principal Secretary Karanja Kibicho.

In Uganda, the report was presented at Vi core member, the Makerere University Business School, by Joseph Muvawala (pictured), Executive Director of the National Planning Authority.

UNCTAD Virtual Institute

Government of Finland

Upcoming Vi online course on trade and gender admits 100+
The first edition of the Vi online course on trade and gender, scheduled for January 19 - March 8, attracted 186 applications from candidates in academia, government, civil society and the private sector.

"We were quite impressed by the variety and high caliber of the applicants," said Simonetta Zarrilli, Chief of the UNCTAD Trade and Gender Development Section, which co-developed the course with the Vi.

In view of the high demand, the selection committee made available 104 places to participants from 51 countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe, including 14 LDCs.

Funded by the Government of Finland, the three-module course provides participants with the knowledge needed to analyze the two-way relationship between trade and gender, and ultimately to produce gender-aware policy recommendations.


UNCTAD Virtual Institute

First edition of Vi online course on non-tariff measures graduates 60
The Vi online course on non-tariff measures (NTMs), held September 1 - October 19, awarded 60 participants from 43 countries the UNCTAD Non-Tariff Measures Data Collector Certificate.

Post-course evaluation questionnaires confirm that the course, developed in cooperation with UNCTAD's Division on International Trade in Goods and Services, and Commodities, increased participants' knowledge of NTMs and helped them better appreciate the NTM-related policy issues facing their countries. Feedback also indicates that the graduates intend to use the knowledge acquired in their teaching, research and policymaking work.

"With the resources and tutorials I received from the course instructors, I am planning to start a small project on collecting NTMs and sharing my findings with my students. This, I believe, will add a practical component to my teaching," one of the trainees said. Another planned to "specifically use my knowledge on NTMs in my research on the ASEAN Economic Community, particularly the business implications of NTMs in AEC 2015."

"As a member of national committees on trade I am now better placed to give sound advice/guidance when discussing issues related to non-tariff measures," said a course graduate. "It was my first Vi e-learning course and it was very successful. The combination of reading material, multimedia lectures and tests was excellent to absorb and understand the contents properly. I look forward to other Vi courses," added another.

End-of-year pubs pack on its way

End-of-year pubs pack on its way to Vi member institutions
Vi intern, Tarinee Youkhaw, spent the last month of her internship lovingly preparing 110 packages of publications generously donated by our UNCTAD colleagues and destined for the libraries of our university and think tank members around the world.

In total, around 2,000 copies of UNCTAD's major publications were sent out this round, including the Trade and Development Report, the Review of Maritime Transport, the Least Developed Countries Report, the World Investment Report, and the Vi's "Trade policies, household welfare and poverty alleviation: Case studies from the Virtual Institute academic network."

New Virtual Institute study tour materials

New Vi study tour materials now online
Vi members can now access presentations and documents from UNCTAD, the WTO, ITC used by experts while conducting lectures for Vi study tours for Chinese and Colombian university members.

Among the hot topics are foreign direct investment; science and technology; globalization; the Post-2015 development agenda; industrial policies; and WTO negotiations. Some of the materials are also available in Spanish.



?	UNCTAD Handbook of Statistics 2014

UNCTAD Handbook of Statistics 2014
The 2014 edition of the UNCTAD Handbook of Statistics provides a collection of data and indicators useful for the analysis and evaluation of world trade, investment, international financial flows and development.

Organized into eight sections, the first four look at merchandise trade from different perspectives, with part five devoted to trade in services. The last three sections compile information on commodity prices, foreign direct investment and remittances, and some key development indicators.

The UNCTAD Handbook of Statistics is available in printed version as well as in DVD format. It is also publicly available through UNCTADStat.

 Least Developed Countries Report 2014

Least Developed Countries Report 2014
This year's edition of the LDC report starts by analyzing the progress of the Least Developed Countries toward the MDGs, in particular Goal 8: Global partnership for development.

The report finds that despite unprecedented economic growth since 2000, helped by increasing commodity prices and aid flows, as well as substantial progress in human development, most LDCs will not meet the majority of the MDGs, as recent growth has not been accompanied by the structural transformation needed for a shift of their economies toward higher productivity sectors.

After detailed analysis of structural transformation and labour productivity in LDCs and selected non-LDC developing countries (China, Mauritius, Viet Nam),the report proposes policies (resource mobilization, industrial policy and economic diversification, macroeconomic policies, and international policies and official development assistance) in support of structural transformation.

Review of Maritime Transport 2014

Review of Maritime Transport 2014
According to the 2014 edition of UNCTAD's Review of Maritime Transport, the growth of global seaborne shipments in 2013, averaging 3.8 percent, was lower than in 2012 due to the stumbling growth in the world economy. The world container port throughput increased by an estimated 5.6 percent in 2013, with Asian ports continuing to lead in terms of port throughput and terminal efficiency. Progress was also accomplished in the negotiation and adoption of international regulations relating to environmental issues (increasing energy efficiency, reducing emissions from greenhouse gases and other toxic substances), maritime and supply-chain security, and fight against maritime piracy.

The report dedicates a special chapter to Small Island Developing States, which face many obstacles in connecting to global trade networks through maritime transport services, in particular due to their remoteness from main global trade routes and resulting disadvantages in terms of cost and time, but also quality and frequency, of maritime transport services.

Statistical annexes to the report (world seaborne trade, national fleets, container port traffic, and the UNCTAD's Liner Shipping Connectivity Index) are available online.

Maritime Piracy Parts 1 and 2

Maritime Piracy Parts 1 and 2
Transport by sea, a key activity for efficient and reliable trade relationships, remains vulnerable to piracy, robbery and other crimes. This two-part UNCTAD report assesses the impact of piracy acts and provides recommendations on how countries could face these new challenges.

Part I of the report describes the trends of maritime piracy and related crimes, and estimates costs and trade-related implications on food security, economic opportunities and development perspectives. Findings indicate, for instance, that since 2010 off-the-coast piracy in Somalia may have generated direct annual costs of at least USD 6 billion, with an average cost of roughly USD 100 million per incident. Eighty percent of these costs are borne by private companies, and include expenditures in increased security, rerouting and insurance, among others. The remaining direct costs are related to military operations and prosecutions' costs, which directly affect government budgets. Part II of the report provides an overview of the contemporary international legal regime to combat piracy, and identifies possibilities for further international cooperation.

?	Who is benefiting from trade liberalization in Rwanda? A gender perspective

Who is benefiting from trade liberalization in Rwanda? A gender perspective
The latest addition to the UNCTAD series, this case study looks into the effects of trade on gender in Rwanda.

Chapter 1 introduces the country's economy and sketches a gender country profile, analyzing the country's achievements, as well as areas for further improvement, such as health and education, access to resources and opportunities, and security. Chapter 2 provides information on Rwanda's trade flows and trade policies and its multilateral, bilateral and regional trade-related agreements. Chapter 3 looks at the how trade affects female employment, consumption and revenue by examining direct effects of imports and exports, trade and labour market dynamics, internal prices, fiscal spending and redistribution of wealth. The final chapter offers policy recommendations, structured around the various roles women play in the economy: producers and workers in agriculture, manufacturing and tourism, informal cross-border traders, users of public services and taxpayers, and consumers.

?	Investment by TNCs and Gender: Preliminary Assessment and Way Forward

Investment by TNCs and Gender: Preliminary Assessment and Way Forward
Investment by TNCs can help create job opportunities for women, particularly in labour-intensive export-oriented industries, such as textiles, garments, electronics, agriculture, call centres, hotels, catering and tourism. However, it can also increase gender inequality if the jobs created for women remain confined to low-paid activities, or occur in the informal sector. This UNCTAD study examines the impact of investment by transnational corporations (TNCs) on gender in developing host countries. It focuses primarily on the wage and employment impact on gender equality and the quality of the employment provided.

After an assessment of areas such as human resources management, corporate social responsibility, education and skills upgrading, employment conditions, and entrepreneurship, the study provides policy recommendations for governments to maximize benefits for women, as well as suggestions to guide TNCs in the inclusion of gender concerns in their business models.

World Trade Report 2014

World Trade Report 2014
The 2014 edition of WTO's World Trade Report looks at how four recent major economic trends have changed the ways in which developing countries can use trade to facilitate their development. First, the unprecedented growth and increasing integration of developing countries into the global economy created new opportunities for these countries, but also left important barriers untouched. Second, the integration into global value chains can support industrialization and upgrading to higher-value tasks in developing countries but competitive advantage can be lost more easily, and upgrading can be challenging. Third, the increase in the prices of agricultural products and natural resources has helped some developing countries achieve strong growth, but higher prices can also have an adverse effect on net importers of these goods. And fourth, the growing interdependence within the global economy allows countries to benefit more quickly from growth in other parts of the world but it can also facilitate transmission of crises across borders.


WTO annual package of data on trade and tariffs
The annual package of WTO statistical publications provides detailed data on the latest developments in world trade.

International Trade Statistics 2014 covers merchandise and services trade, as well as trade measured in value-added terms, and contains charts illustrating noteworthy trends in global trade and tables with detailed data.

World Tariff Profiles 2014, jointly published by the WTO, UNCTAD and the International Trade Centre, provides data on tariffs imposed by WTO members and other countries. The first part contains summary tables showing the average tariffs imposed by individual countries. The second part lists the tariffs each country imposes on imports (by product group), and the tariffs it faces for exports to major trading partners.

Trade Profiles 2014 provides a summary of the most relevant indicators of growth, trade and trade policy measures on a country-by-country basis. The data include basic economic indicators (such as gross domestic product), trade policy indicators (such as tariffs, import duties, the number of disputes, notifications outstanding and contingency measures in force), merchandise trade flows, services trade flows and industrial property indicators.

Services Profiles 2014 provides key statistics on "infrastructure services," i.e. transportation, telecommunications, finance and insurance, for some 150 economies.

Global Development And Environment Institute (GDAE) of Tufts University

TUFTS offers free teaching resources
The Global Development And Environment Institute (GDAE) of Tufts University (United States) has made available several teaching modules on Social and Environmental Issues in Economics that may be of interest for Vi members. Divided into three major themes: Economics in Context, Topical Modules on Contemporary Issues, and Environmental Issues in Economics, the 17 resources are designed for use as stand-alone supplements in undergraduate or graduate-level courses.

Vi members in developing countries may also benefit from GDAS's Social Science Library, distributed free of charge to university libraries in 138 countries, with particular emphasis on locations with limited internet access. To become a distribution partner, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

International Traden Centre

Continued free access for all ITC Market Analysis Tools
New funding has allowed the International Trade Centre to keep its five market analysis portals --Trade Map, Market Access Map, Investment Map, Trade Competitiveness Map and Standards Map -- freely accessible to users around the world.

Improvements to the tools include quick access to aggregated year trade data on Trade Map without login, new Spanish and French versions of Market Access Map, and eight new standards and customized tools for floriculture and spices on Standards Map.


UNCTAD expert meeting on IIAs
UNCTAD will convene a Single-Year Expert Meeting on "The Transformation of the International Investment Agreement Regime" February 25-27 in Geneva.

Experts, including a wide range of stakeholders from the investment and development community, will discuss today's pressing reform issues and identify concrete strategies and action points to help shape an international investment framework and global investment governance that facilitate sustainable development.

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

UNCTAD Virtual Institute

Web development intern for the Vi - Deadline January 15
The Virtual Institute is looking for an intern with web programming skills to help us upgrade and further develop our virtual services for members (website, digital library and distance learning platform). The four- to six-month internship would begin in the first quarter of 2015.

Applicants must be enrolled in a Master's programme and have excellent skills in coding with PHP and SQL. Experience with MySQL, Joomla CMS, Greenstone DLS and Moodle LMS are an asset, as well as familiarity with Apache web servers.

As with all United Nations internships, this position is unpaid.

Applications must be submitted by January 15.

France Université Numérique

Free online course on international energy relations and policies
Giacomo Luciani, known to the Vi network for his contributions to the workshop on natural resources and the Ugandan mentored research projects on oil and gas, invites Vi members to take part in the online course, "Politics and Economics of International Energy."

The course aims at providing students whose main interest is in international relations with a background on energy resources, technology and economic realities so that they may correctly interpret the political impact of current developments. It also aims at providing students who already have a technical background in energy science or engineering, with a broad global view of energy issues that will allow them to better understand the social, economic and political impact of their technical knowledge.

The eight-week course will take place January 19 - March 23.

Vi core Colombian member coordinator, Maria-Alejandra Gonzalez-Perez

Colombian member coordinator highlights Vi experience in new publication
Maria-Alejandra Gonzalez-Perez, Vi coordinator at Colombian core member, Universidad EAFIT, has included the Vi's approach to student training to illustrate theory contained in the book she co-edited, "The Palgrave Handbook of Experiential Learning in International Business." Since 2009, the Vi has organized six study tours for 192 Colombian students.

The first part of the book deals with conceptual and theoretical approaches to enhance teaching and learning of International Business (IB) and International Management (IM) by means of experiential learning. The second part contains specific applications of experiential learning in IB and IM. Each chapter describes in detail one experiential learning project, with the Vi study tours featured in Chapter 31.

Evans S. Osabuohien (pictured, top right), of Nigerian affiliate member, Covenant University; Ciliaka M. Gitau (pictured, top left), of Kenyan core member, the University of Nairobi; Uchenna R. Efobi (pictured, bottom left), also of Covenant University; and Michael Bruentrup (pictured, bottom right), of think tank member, the German Development Institute.

Vi members release new book
Six academics from four Vi member institutions have joined forces in the analysis of "Agents and Implications of Foreign Land Deals in East African Community: The Case of Uganda."

The 21-chapter compilation features contributions from Christian L. Nguena, of Cameroonian core member, Université de Yaoundé II, and Oluyomi Ola-David, of Nigerian affiliate member, Covenant University, as well as from co-editors Evans S. Osabuohien (pictured, top right), of Nigerian affiliate member, Covenant University; Ciliaka M. Gitau (pictured, top left), of Kenyan core member, the University of Nairobi; Uchenna R. Efobi (pictured, bottom left), also of Covenant University; and Michael Bruentrup (pictured, bottom right), of think tank member, the German Development Institute.

Copies of the book are available for those interested in submitting short reviews to the publisher. For more information, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Vi's Youkaw completes internship

Vi's Youkaw completes internship
Vi intern, Tarinee Youkhaw, completed her six-month internship with us in December.

Her immediate plans are to work on her Master’s thesis on the opportunities and challenges for Thailand’s green technology exports, and to audit classes at Vi Swiss affiliate university member, the Graduate Institute, Geneva.

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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