|Issue #44 - March 2015 - Welcome to the Vi quarterly newsletter|
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First quarter brings three new members to the Vi network
The Ateneo de Manila University joined the Vi March 10, the result of efforts by Filipino lecturers, Philip Arnold Tuaño and Marissa Maricosa Paderon, both graduates of Vi capacity-building activities on trade and poverty.
The Vi's primary counterpart, the Department of Economics of Ateneo's School of Social Sciences, offers a full range of academic programmes in economics, including Bachelor's, Master's and PhD degrees. Faculty members are involved in research on trade policy, international financial flows, international migration, regional economics, environmental economics, and monetary and exchange rate policy.
The Universidad Católica de Santiago de Guayaquil joined March 17, after discussions initiated last July by Ryan Cobey, advisor to the Minister of Foreign Trade, who learned about the Vi from Ramon Torrent, of Spanish core member, Universitat de Barcelona.
The Vi will cooperate with the School of Commerce and Finance, which offers a Master's programme in international trade and finance. The school's research work revolves around foreign direct investment, value chains, entrepreneurship and exports.
The East Siberia State University of Technology and Management (ESSUTM) became the 44th Vi affiliate member February 5.
ESSUTM's Faculty of Economics and Faculty of Law offer undergraduate and graduate programmes in public administration and in law, as well as undergraduate programmes in international economics, trade policy, and customs operations and a PhD programme in economic theory. Recent research undertaken by the two faculties, frequently for government authorities, covers areas such as integration of Russian regions into APEC markets; strategy of economic and social development of the Republic of Buryatia; economic evaluation of national wealth at the meso level; environmental and economic analysis of the Baikal region's national parks; alternative dispute resolution; comparative law; migration issues in international law; and contemporary Chinese and Mongolian law.
Finland supports Vi capacity-building activities for ninth consecutive year
A portion of the funds will support the Vi project on trade and gender implemented in cooperation with the Trade, Gender and Development Section of UNCTAD's Division on International Trade in Goods and Services, and Commodities. The larger share will be dedicated to teaching and research capacity-building services for Vi members in sub-Saharan Africa and the least developed countries.
Trade and gender project activities will include a regional workshop for sub-Saharan Africa on methodologies used in trade and gender analysis to be held in June, and the development of country case studies by top workshop graduates with mentoring from international experts. Funds will also sponsor a second edition of the Vi online course on trade and gender in 2016.
Capacity-building activities for sub-Saharan Africa and the least developed countries will support adaptations of Vi generic teaching materials to the context of its members' countries ("localizations"), Vi fellowships and national professional development workshops for academics. Members may submit proposals for funding until April 7.
First Vi professional development workshop for Burundi trains 25
UNCTAD reports on LDCs and investment topics of Vi videoconferences for Colombia and Belarus
On February 23, 115 students and lecturers from Vi Colombian member universities, EAFIT, EAN, Santo Tomás and La Salle, attended a videoconference presentation of The Least Developed Countries Report 2014 by UNCTAD's Rolf Traeger, Chief of the Least Developed Countries (LDC) Section.
This year’s report examines the linkages between structural transformation, economic growth and human development. In light of LDCs’ performance with regard to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the report looks at what these countries can do to transform their economies in order to foster economic growth and reach human development, so as to attain the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which span 2015 to 2030.
Traeger highlighted "the importance of mobilizing resources in order to finance economic development through domestic taxation, foreign direct investment, Official Development Assistance (ODA) (especially when directed to infrastructure), and investment undertaken by the diaspora." The priorities for this investment should be set along the lines of an industrial policy aimed "not only to focus on current comparative advantages, but also to create new comparative advantages."
Traeger also led a videoconference on the report for 22 students and three lecturers from Vi core member, the Belarus State Economic University, February 24.The event counted with the participation of Alexeksandr Tselyuk, Counselor at the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Belarus to the United Nations Office and other international organizations in Geneva.
Tselyuk said that the report contains useful lessons for Belarus, such as the importance of mobilizing resources for structural transformation, gaining access to markets through different means, and working on different trade agreements that take into account the realities of the Belarusian economy.
Belarusian members also joined a Vi videoconference on the findings of the latest UNCTAD World Investment Report (WIR) onMarch 24. Delivered by WIR co-author, Kalman Kalotay, of the Division on Investment and Enterprise, the presentation drew an audience of 21 students and academics from Vi core member, the Belarus State Economic University, and the Kazak University of Foreign Relations.
The 2014 WIR reports a larger role for economies in transition in terms of investment flows, both as recipients and as originators, despite major fluctuations since the global economic crisis of 2008. The report also outlines a strategy to substantially increase private investment in areas related to the achievement of the SDGs.
Colombian affiliate at UNCTAD for third Vi study visit
On the first day, Alex Izurieta, of UNCTAD's Division on Globalization and Development Strategies, presented the findings of the latest Trade and Development Report; Hamed El-Kady, of UNCTAD's Division on Investment and Enterprise (DIAE) covered the international setting of investment rules, as well as global investment policies and their challenges; and DIAE’s Cristina Martinez outlined opportunities for youth entrepreneurship in Colombia.
On the second day of the tour, Luisa Rodriguez, of the Division on International Trade in Goods and Services, and Commodities, discussed trade agreements and trends in trade and services from the Colombian perspective, and Rolf Traeger, of the Division on Africa and the Least Developed Countries, took a look at the UN’s Millennium Development Goals and the post-2015 development agenda.
Vi online course on trade and gender graduates 66
Developed in cooperation with UNCTAD’s Trade, Gender and Development Section, the online course is part of a joint capacity-building project funded by the Government of Finland. The ultimate goal of the project is to equip participants with the knowledge necessary to analyze the two-way relationship between trade and gender, and to produce gender-aware policy recommendations.
“Trade and gender is currently at the heart of development thinking, since incorporating gender into economic analysis allows us to capture the social and cultural aspects of our economy,” said course graduate Elias Bagumhe, of Tanzania’s Ministry of East African Cooperation. “This is critically needed for inclusive growth.”
The three-module course combined readers, multimedia lectures and current literature to introduce concepts and analytical frameworks; explore the effects of trade on women’s well-being and economic empowerment; and explain how gender-based inequalities affect trade performance. All participants agreed the course had met or exceeded their expectations and enhanced their knowledge of the trade-gender links.
According to the feedback received, the course succeeded in preparing participants to conduct their own research on the topic, and/or incorporate trade and gender concepts into their teaching and policy-related work, with respondents citing 61 ideas for research projects, 27 for inclusion in their teaching and 31 for policy design.
The last phase of the project will offer training on the empirical analysis of trade and gender through a regional workshopscheduled for June 15-19 in South Africa, and provide funding and mentoring of selected projects proposed by participants from lower-income and least developed countries in sub-Saharan Africa.
Vi members launch UNCTAD's IER 15
The launch in Colombia, organized by the Observatorio en Comercio, Inversión y Desarrollo of Vi core member, Universidad EAFIT, was led by research director, Félix Londoño González, and counted with an audience of 42 participants. The launch in Nepal, hosted by core member, Mid-western University, was attended by 40 participants and included presentations by Vi coordinator, Prakash Sharma, and colleagues Ajay Uprety, Samir Sharma and Swagat Raj Pandey. The launch in Russia, held at the UN Information Centre in Moscow, gathered 20 participants for a presentation by affiliate member coordinator, Anna Abramova. In Jordan, the launch was conducted by core member coordinator, Taleb Awad, of the University of Jordan, who was joined by Zubi Alzubi, Dean of the Business School, and H.E. Marwan Juma, former minister for communication and information technology. Finally, the presentation for Togo was delivered by core member coordinator, Anani Mensah, of the Université de Lomé, for an audience of about 100 participants.
A presentation of the report for the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, organized by Igor Velickovski, of Vi core member, the University American College Skopje, and the National Bank of the Republic of Macedonia, is planned for May.
Virtual Institute Teaching Material on Trade and Gender
Volume 1 explores the consequences of trade for women's economic empowerment and well-being and the impact of gender inequality on trade. After introducing the concepts, definitions and analytical frameworks related to gender and trade, it analyzes the effects of trade on women in the different roles they play in the economy and society - as wage workers, producers, traders, consumers and tax payers. It then looks at the impact of gender on trade by examining the effects of gender-based inequalities on trade performance, focusing in particular on women as a source of competitive advantage and as under-achievers of competitive advantage.
Volume 2 focuses on methodologies and data for quantitative analysis of the link between trade and gender. It first explains the methodology used in the microeconomic approach which analyzes the gender effects of trade policies and shocks using household survey data. It then introduces the macroeconomic approach, which examines the link between trade openness and gender outcomes in terms of improving women's economic, political and social status. It concludes with a review of the methodologies used to analyze the effects of trade on gender at the sectoral level, i.e. the effects on women engaged in specific sectors and industries of the economy. A literature review is provided for each of the methodologies, together with hands-on applications explaining step by step how to replicate the estimations from selected studies on trade and gender. The volume is accompanied by a CD containing the empirical applications.
The online version of the material includes a translation into Nepalese from Vi core member, the Mid-Western University. Translation of Volume 1 into French, as well as other member localizations of the materials, are in the works.
New Vi multimedia teaching resources now online
In World Investment Report 2014: Russia moves up FDI host list, Kalman Kalotay reviews global and regional foreign direct investment trends with a focus on transition economies, and outlines a framework developed by UNCTAD to attract more private investment to support the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals.
TDR 2014: Policy space key for tackling sluggish recovery features presentations in English and Spanish by UNCTAD Trade and Development Report lead author, Alfredo Calcagno. The latest edition of the report suggests that faced with the slowdown in developed countries, developing countries should look for new growth drivers and address their structural weaknesses through public investment in infrastructure and human capital, and better use of industrial policy supported by macroeconomic measures. In order to implement such policies, they will need policy space and financial resources.
In TRIPS flexibilities and anti-counterfeit legislation in East Africa: Implications for generic producers, Christoph Spennemann explains how East African countries are promoting the production of local pharmaceuticals while dealing with challenges posed by counterfeiting and sub-standard drugs.
Information Economy Report 2015 - Unlocking the Potential of E-commerce for Developing Countries
The report provides a comprehensive B2C e-commerce index tool to measure states' e-commerce readiness by evaluating four key factors of e-commerce: Internet use, secure servers, credit card penetration and postal delivery services. The index places the Republic of Korea, Hong Kong and Singapore at the top for developing economies, and Luxembourg, Norway, and Finland as the front runners for developed economies. This allows readers to compare the areas of high performance and necessary improvement to further gage a country's readiness for e-commerce.
The report provides greater insight into the trends, challenges, and diversities in e-commerce, and advocates active dialogue and sound legal frameworks to help e-commerce become an inclusive and trustworthy tool for development.
Deep Regional Integration and Non-Tariff Measures: A Methodology for Data Analysis
The authors develop an indicator to measure the similarity of NTMs policies across countries and sectors, and use it to estimate the price-increasing effect of such measures, seeking to obtain averages of ad valorem equivalents (AVEs) for all types of NTMs. Analysis then moves on to specific cases and sectors, and identifies possible monopolistic/oligopolistic markets, raising "flags" about suspicious cases. The paper concludes with a case study linking AVEs to Kenyan household survey data on consumption patterns in order to evaluate welfare impacts of NTMs.
Trading With Conditions: The Effect of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures on Lower Income Countries' Agricultural Exports
These findings are consistent with the idea that lower-income countries do not have sufficient capacity to comply with SPS measures and that well-targeted technical assistance to cope with the compliance costs could generate considerable gains for these countries.
Looking at Trade Policy Through a “Gender Lens”: Summary of Seven Country Case Studies Conducted by UNCTAD
By looking at the patterns of gender roles, inequalities, and cultural factors across seven countries from 2010-2014, the report makes a comparative analysis in order to answer the underlying question: Is macroeconomic policy truly "gender neutral?"
The report argues that trade policy must be gender aware in order to adequately address the barriers that deny women access to capital, market networks, and technological know-how across all trade sectors. The report provides gender-sensitive and gender-redistributive policy recommendations that will enable women to maximize their contribution to development.
UNCTAD statistical country profiles - http://unctadstat.unctad.org/CountryProfile/home/Indexen.html
Call for applications: Virtual Institute regional workshop on trade and gender analysis - Deadline April 17
The objective of the workshop, funded by the Government of Finland, is to provide participants with the knowledge needed to undertake their own analysis of the two-way relationship between trade and gender, with the aim of producing gender-aware policy recommendations. Successful workshop graduates will have the opportunity to apply for support from UNCTAD in the development of research papers on trade and gender issues of policy relevance to their countries using the methods taught at the workshop.
Applicants must: (a) be a national of a sub-Saharan Africa country working for, or studying at an institution in the region; (b) hold a Master's degree in Economics; (c) have excellent knowledge of English; (d) have background in econometrics, and successfully pass an entry test assessing basic knowledge of the Stata statistical software. This test, which will open April 13, must be passed before the deadline for applications.
Scholarships available: Second edition of Vi online course on non-tariff measures - Deadline: April 19
Developed by the Virtual Institute and the Trade Information Section of UNCTAD's Division on International Trade in Goods and Services and Commodities, the course was designed to train experts around the world who can effectively collect and classify information about these measures.
Candidates must hold a Master’s degree in Economics, Law or International Relations. Applications may also be accepted from students enrolled in such programmes who hold a Bachelor's degree in one of these fields. Also required are: basic knowledge of Microsoft Excel, very good knowledge of English, and familiarity with government/ministry structures responsible for setting regulations.
All selected participants will be exempt from course fees, and will receive the course 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 April 19.
UNCTAD LAC Regional Course - Deadline May 1
The three-module course will focus on the links between trade, investment, finance and development, and will be delivered in English with some documentation in Spanish. Candidates are expected to have a full working knowledge of English.
Although primarily aimed at government officials, academics may also be considered. All participants will receive hotel accommodation and sufficient funds to cover daily meals and miscellaneous expenses. Travel expenses will be provided for participants from the least developed countries. All participants will be responsible for obtaining valid visas to travel to Colombia prior to their arrival.
Reduced fees for Master's in Spain - Deadline May 30
Primarily taught in Spanish, the 10-module programme offers theoretical and practical training on the dynamics of international relations in their political, economic, historical and legal dimensions.
Scholarships available for African Master's students
To qualify, applicants must: have applied and been admitted to the programme; have attained at least a Second Class Honours (Upper Division) or equivalent in Economics or related field from an accredited university. Female candidates and applicants from post-conflict and fragile states are particularly encouraged to apply.
Swiss Vi member offers discount on summer programmes
To qualify for the discount, applicants must specify that they are affiliated with the Virtual Institute in the application form(motivation letter and/or in the page about how you learned about the programme).
Queries may be submitted online.
| Half off tuition for Vi West Indies member Master's programme|
Vi core member, the Shridath Ramphal Centre of the University of the West Indies, invites Vi members to apply for two scholarships covering half of tuition fees for its Masters Programme in International Trade Policy (MITP), scheduled September 2015 - August 2016.
The MITP provides practical insight into the dynamic world of trade policy and law helping entry-level and mid-career professionals build a solid foundation in trade theory, practice and governance.
WTO essay contest to award CHF 5,000 - Deadline June 1
The paper must address issues related to trade policy and international trade cooperation. The author(s) of the paper must possess or be engaged in the completion of a PhD degree and, if over 30 years of age, be no more than two years past a PhD defense. In the case of co-authored papers, this requirement shall apply to all authors. To be considered for the award, essays cannot exceed 15,000 words.
The winner will be officially announced at the annual meeting of the European Trade Study Group planned for September in Paris.
| Fellowship available for Master's in Mauritius - Deadline April 30|
Vi core member, the University of Mauritius, is offering fellowships to eligible candidates from sub-Saharan Africa to participate in its Masters Programme in Social Protection Financing. This intensive one-year degree programme is designed to equip social security managers and financial specialists to meet the challenges of financing national social protection programmes.
The fellowships include: return airfare in economy class; full tuition fees; contribution toward living costs; and medical insurance coverage. Signed application forms and supporting documents must be mailed by post to: The Programme Secretariat, MSc in Social Protection Financing Programme, UOM TRUST, 8th Floor, Prof Sir Edouard Lim Fat Engineering Tower Building, University of Mauritius, Reduit, Mauritius, phone: 00 230 403 7868.
Scholarships available for online specialization - Deadline April 25
The course, intended for those wishing to carry out import-export operations in the global market, may be followed in English, French, Spanish or Portuguese.
Call for chapters - Lessons from the Great Recession: At the Crossroads of Sustainability and Recovery - Deadline: May 1
Chapters for this volume will be accepted from international academics whose work focuses on issues of economy, sustainability, core-periphery politics and community development.
Vi welcomes new contributors
Brittany Burkholder joined the Vi team in March for a six-month internship. An American from Hawaii, she obtained a Masters' in International Relations and Diplomacy from the International University in Geneva, and a Bachelor's in Asian Studies with a minor in Japanese Language from the University of Hawaii at Manoa. During her time with the Vi, she will coordinate the distribution of the June publication packages for our 114 member institutions, develop multimedia teaching resources, contribute to the newsletter and website, manage the digital library, and support study tours, workshops and other Vi training activities. After her internship, she hopes to continue working for an international organization where she can gain further experience in communication and international relations.
Vi economist off to new challenges
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