|Issue #45 - June 2015 - Welcome to the Vi quarterly newsletter|
Vi welcomes three new members, institutional membership now at 117
Its Faculty of Economics and Management recently launched a new Master's programme in international economics and trade taught by university staff and local trade practitioners. The university also offers a Master's in economics and management, delivered by a consortium of universities from the country and region, as well as from several developed countries. The work of its Research Centre for Applied Economics and Management covers growth, poverty, trade, environment, natural resources, and entrepreneurship.
Douzounet Mallaye has been appointed Vi member coordinator. He holds a PhD in Economics and teaches courses on macroeconomics and international economics. His recent research has covered official development assistance, governance and economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa, and oil rent and income inequality in developing countries. Nine of his colleagues will also be involved in the cooperation with the Vi.
Established in 2005, IEF provides inputs to strategic forecasts and programmes related to Ukraine’s socio-economic development. Its research areas include modeling and forecasting of economic development, monetary issues, and public finances, among others. In the trade area in particular, research efforts have recently focused on technology transfer through exports and imports of goods and services; trade in energy resources; and the effects of Ukraine's WTO accession and its European Union Association Agreement. IEF also runs its own Master's and PhD programmes in several economic disciplines.
The cooperation between the IEF and the Vi will be coordinated by Academic Secretary, Vladimir Khaustov, expert in technology and innovation and intellectual property rights. He will be supported by Igor Yegorov, Head of the Department of Innovation Policy, Economics and Management of High Technologies.
Finally, on June 25, the Vi welcomed its first Tunisian institutional member. Membership of the Tunis Business School (TBS) at the University of Tunis expanded Vi membership to 117 academic institutions in 58 countries.
Established in 2010, TBS is the first public business education institution in Tunisia using English as the language of instruction. Recently awarded a WTO Chair, TBS offers a Bachelor‘s degree in Business Administration which will open a specialization in economic analysis and policies in September. Its research work covers trade and poverty, non-tariff barriers, trade in services, multilateral trade negotiations, WTO dispute settlement, exchange rate regimes, firms in international trade, and transparency in emerging markets.
Vi coordinator, Leila Baghdadi, a participant of the 2012 Vi online course on trade and poverty, holds a PhD in International Economics. She teaches courses on micro and microeconomics and trade policy, and focuses her research on regional trade agreements, economic aspects of migration, and trade liberalization and poverty. Also involved in the cooperation with the Vi are: Brahim Guizani, Amal Hili, Racem Mehdi and Sahar Mechri.
Trade and gender analysis subject of latest Vi workshop
Participants were trained on state-of-the-art research methodologies on trade and gender and learned about the sources, data and indicators used in empirical analysis in this area. In addition to theoretical explanations and replications of existing research papers by workshop resource persons, Elizabeth Jane Casabianca and David Zavaleta, participants had the opportunity to engage in hands-on practice using the Stata statistical software.
“What I have learnt in the workshop exceeded my expectations,” said Zibanani Kahaka, of the University of Botswana. "It provided a deeper insight into econometric models and the use of Stata both at the macro and micro levels.”
All the participants left the workshop determined to use the newly acquired knowledge and skills in their work. Applications to their teaching included enriching courses on international trade, development economics, agricultural policy and econometrics, offering training on data management and Stata, and providing better support to students. Research applications included a paper on climate-related changes in economic activities for men and women. Several participants also intend to use workshop knowledge to advise policymakers or provide them with research inputs.
The Vi and the TGDS will further encourage participants to apply workshop knowledge in their research by offering financial support and expert guidance in the context of “mentored research projects.” Fourteen participants have already expressed interest in applying for these projects and developing policy-relevant trade and gender papers about their countries.
Vi national professional development workshops train 105 researchers in Bangladesh, Tanzania and the Gambia
The workshop for Bangladesh trained 23 researchers on the analysis of the impact of trade and trade-related policies on household welfare March 29 to April 1. Funded by the Government of Finland, the workshop was hosted by Vi core member, Jagannath University (JNU).
The four-day workshop was delivered by Vi online course on trade and poverty co-author, Nicolás Depetris Chauvin, of the Haute école de gestion de Genève, with assistance from JNU’s Vi member coordinator, Tareq Arefin. The objective was to provide participants with the empirical tools needed to assess the impact of trade and trade-related policies on poverty and income distribution, enabling them to contribute to the design of pro-poor trade policies in their countries
“The workshop provided participants with substantial level of knowledge and skills on trade and poverty analysis,” reports Arefin. “It is noteworthy here to mention that the topic of the workshop and materials were very relevant to the socio-economic structure and development challenges of Bangladesh.”
Morning sessions were dedicated to theoretical aspects, while the afternoons were spent on hands-on applications using the Stata statistical software.
“The hands-on exercises resolved all my technical barriers to use Stata,” Arefin said. “In the near future, my plan is to use the knowledge from this workshop to evaluate the impact of the South Asian Free Trade Area (SAFTA) on its member’s poverty reduction status."
The workshop for Tanzania guided 24 researchers through the economic analysis of non-tariff measures (NTMs) June 1-4. Funded by the Tanzania One UN Fund and hosted by Vi affiliate member, the Open University of Tanzania (OUT), the workshop was the first capacity-building activity based on newly developed Vi teaching resources on NTMs.
Through a combination of lectures and hands-on practice, Marco Fugazza, of UNCTAD’s Division on International Trade in Goods and Services, and Commodities, introduced the empirics of trade and the gravity model and highlighted the empirical strategies that can be implemented to identify the impact of NTMs on trade at the product and firm levels.
“We analyzed massive data relating to NTMs, especially for developing countries, Tanzania inclusive,” said a participant from OUT. “It was interesting to learn that apart from looking at NTMs as an impediment to trade, there are some experts working on NTMs’ trade enhancing effects,” added Joel Monella, of the Centre for Foreign Relations.
According to post-workshop evaluations, participants gained skills and knowledge that they could immediately apply to their work as lecturers, researchers and government advisors.
“The workshop provided me with current knowledge which may be incorporated in international economics courses in general, and on NTMs in particular,” said Godwin Myovella, of the University of Dodoma. “The ability to quantify NTMs will enable me to present facts which will lead to appropriate policy recommendations as the real impact of NTMs will be evaluated,” added Agape Ishabakaki, of Vi core member, the University of Dar es Salaam.
The workshop for the Gambia introduced 58 participants from academia and the public sector to ways in which domestic resources mobilization could help foster economic development in African countries. Jointly organized with UNCTAD's Division for Africa, Least Developed Countries and Special Programmes (ALDC) the workshop was hosted by Vi core member, the University of the Gambia (UTG), June 8-10.
ALDC experts, Bineswaree Bolaky and Laura Páez, involved participants in discussion covering financial resources in Africa, ways of increasing public revenue and fiscal space in Africa; financial sector reform and promotion of productive investment, and remittances and capital flight.
"The workshop has provided me with a new insight of what is happening within the African continent, especially what is hindering intra-African trade, and what needs to be done to encourage more investment in the continent," said UTG lecturer, Mariama Trawally Sawo.
Participants indicated plans to use their new knowledge in teaching, research and their work for policymakers.
IER15 Vi videoconference looks at e-commerce potential for developing countries
“Buying and selling goods and services online offers well-known benefits for businesses and consumers,” Fondeur Gil said. However, e-commerce also brings risks. Growing cybercrime and fraudulent activities in 2012 generated estimated losses of USD 3.5 billion, and “some developing countries are concerned that the arrival of foreign competitors will affect the competitiveness of local enterprises” and products.
Although business-to-business (B2B) e-commerce is significantly larger than business-to-consumer (B2C) e-commerce in terms of value, the latter is growing much faster and developing countries and transition economies are expected to account for 40 percent of B2C e-commerce in 2018. However, forecasts anticipate a slight decrease in the share of Latin America and the Caribbean (4.2 percent to 3.7 percent).
The report proposes that countries develop regional strategic plans to promote electronic commerce. Policies should integrate elements related to Internet infrastructure and broadband access, trade facilitation, cyber legislation, and enterprise development, among others.
Second edition of Vi online course on NTMs admits 85
The five-module course, which started on 1 June and runs until 19 July, aims to increase the understanding of the NTM classification and the collection of NTM data. Thanks to the TIS and Vi support, all participants were exempt from the fees associated with access to the course and the e-tutoring services provided.
Participants who have successfully completed the course will be awarded an "UNCTAD Certified Non-Tariff Measure Data Collector" certificate. The top graduates will become part of the UNCTAD NTM consultancy roster, and may be considered for future data collection or related work.
|Vi study tours train 78 students from university members in Russia, the Caribbean and Switzerland|
The first study tour of the quarter took place April 20-24, and brought 41 students and lecturers from five Russian universities to Geneva for a programme on trade-related topics delivered by experts from UNCTAD divisions and Vi partner organizations, the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the International Trade Centre (ITC). The students also met with Russian representatives to discuss Russia’s participation in UNCTAD, the WTO and the UN Economic Commission for Europe.
It was the eighth Vi study tour organized for Russian members, and included participants from five Vi member universities -- the State University Higher School of Economics, the Moscow State Institute of International Relations, the St. Petersburg State University and the St. Petersburg State University of Economics and Finance and the Russian Foreign Trade Academy.
“From this study tour, I gained a lot more information and experience than I expected, I learned about the issues that are going on at the UN and other organizations, which was very useful because you cannot get such practical experience elsewhere - I am very grateful for the opportunity to be part of it,“ said one of the students.
According to the feedback received, the study tour largely exceeded students' expectations. They especially appreciated the opportunity to ask questions and have interactive discussions with the experts. Several students also mentioned future plans to work in the public sector in their country, or in the international setting at one of the organizations in Geneva.
The next Vi study tour was the 11th for students of the Master's programme in International Trade Policy of core member, the University of the West Indies. Eighteen students from seven countries participated in 24 sessions led by experts from UNCTAD and six Geneva-based international organizations May 11-22. Also part of the tour was a meeting with regional ambassadors in Geneva, and a simulation exercise on foreign direct investment.
"The study tour exposed us to a variety of international organizations that were highlighted during the theoretical component of our studies, and gave us the opportunity to have robust discussions with experts and meet fellow Caribbean citizens excelling in the international arena," said one of the students.
The session with the ambassadors “was a defining one. Hearing from the Caribbean delegations about their work and seeing their passion was motivating,” added another.
Closing the quarter was the first Vi study visit organized for Swiss affiliate member, the Graduate Institute, which brought 29 students from 19 countries to UNCTAD June 24 for a presentation of the Information Economy Report (IER) 2015 by co-author, Torbjörn Fredriksson, of UNCTAD's Division on Technology and Logistics.
After a brief introduction to the work of UNCTAD, Fredriksson outlined the major findings of this edition of the report, which examines potential opportunities and challenges of e-commerce and how developing countries can optimize the benefits of today’s information society.
Students actively engaged in discussions touching on UNCTAD's activities in their countries, the share of world trade that corresponds to e-commerce and the importance of data collection.
UNCTAD expert contributes to Vi Colombian member university event on SDGs
The objectives must be addressed at the local and regional levels to combat existing territorial inequalities in all countries, he said, citing the example of Colombia, where in 2012 the poverty rate in Bogota was 12 percent, while in the state of Chocó, it reached 68 percent. "It is essential that local authorities have the competence and financial means necessary to face these challenges, as well as support from national authorities and international organizations,” he concluded.
Vi mid-year publication packages on their way to stock members' libraries
Kenyan adaptation of Vi trade and gender teaching material now available
The localization is structured into three chapters. The first chapter reviews the structure of Kenya's economy and trade, as well as the evolution of the country's trade policy. The second chapter is dedicated to drawing a gender profile of Kenya - from the role of women, through the sectors where they are concentrated, to the analysis of the gender gaps in access and control of resources. The final chapter is a case study on the impact of trade liberalization on women retailers in Kenya. After providing an overview of women in retail trade, the author analyzes the impact of trade liberalization on different retail trade activities, such as tailoring and dressmaking; small grocery stores and open air markets; import retail trade; and cross-border trade.
The material also contains discussion questions and exercises for students. It will be used to teach a course on trade and gender to third-year students of the planned Bachelor of International Economics and Trade, as well as graduate courses on international economics for students of economics and those enrolled in the MA in Multilateral Trading Systems at the University of Nairobi. It is also envisaged to explore the use of the material in short courses on trade and gender.
LDCs and SDGs focus of latest Vi multimedia teaching resources
In LDC Report 2014: LDCs battleground for SDGs, Traeger explains the concept of the “LDC paradox” -- high economic growth but low performance in terms of human development, and advocates structural transformation within and between sectors to reconnect economic and human development. The challenge is huge but weighty as the performance of the LDCs will determine whether the SDGs fixed by the Post-2015 Development Agenda will be fully achieved. The resource is available in English, French, Spanish and Portuguese.
The focus stays on the Post-2015 Development Agenda with the second multimedia teaching resource, Local actors must play role in SDG implementation, where Traeger explains the importance of SDG implementation at the regional level.
New Vi study tour materials now online
International investment policies, food security, trade remedies and intellectual property are among the topics covered by the experts.
World Investment Report (WIR) 2015 - Reforming International Investment Governance
In this context, this year's WIR, the 25th in the series, analyzes key challenges in international investment protection and promotion, such as the right to regulate, investor-state dispute settlement, and investor responsibility. It also examines the fiscal treatment of international investment, including contributions of multinational corporations in developing countries, fiscal leakage through tax avoidance, and the role of offshore investment links.
In particular, this year's WIR proposes policy options for the much needed reform of the global regime of international investment agreements, and outlines a set of guidelines to ensure coherence between investment and tax policies to counter tax avoidance.
Non-Tariff Measures and Regional Integration in the Southern African Development Community
Chapter 1 discusses NTMs in global trade and regional integration, as well as the efforts of SADC and the Tripartite Free Trade Area, which also involves the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa and the East African Community, to go beyond WTO provisions in addressing NTMs. Chapter 2 specifies the legal arrangements of SADC concerning the domestic application of trade agreements and overlapping membership in other regional economic communities. Chapter 3 summarizes the policy design in sanitary and phytosanitary measures and technical barriers to trade contained in the annexes to the SADC Protocol on Trade. Chapter 4 provides an overview of commitments regarding the elimination of Non-Tariff Barriers in SADC and discusses their implementation and enforcement. Chapter 5 evaluates the potential gains for SADC countries from addressing NTMs, and chapter 6 provides recommendations for short-, medium- and long-term measures to achieve this goal.
The State of Commodity Dependence 2014
The State of Commodity Dependence 2014 report provides a wealth of statistical information on commodity dependence and food security in developing countries presented in a friendly and easy-to-understand manner. Commodity dependence is analyzed for 13 sub-regions, and individual country profiles are provided for all countries in each sub-region. The report finds that two-thirds of all developing countries fell in the CDDC category in 2012-2013, with one out of two located in Africa.
Transformative Regionalism, Trade and the Challenge of Poverty Reduction in Africa - Trade and Poverty Paper Series, No. 1
According to author Patrick Osakwe, of UNCTAD's Division for Africa, Least Developed Countries and Special Programmes, structural transformation from low to high productivity activities in all sectors of the economy is necessary to sustain growth, employment creation and poverty reduction in Africa. He identifies lack of diversification, in particular the limited role of manufacturing, and infrastructure bottlenecks related to energy and transport as major obstacles to intra-regional trade.
As tariff and non-tariff barriers play a relatively less important role, the linear, trade-reform centered model of integration the continent has been following so far may not be the most promising approach. Instead, Osakwe suggests transformative regionalism, an approach which aims to build productive capacities and to achieve structural change by identifying the most binding constraints to development and shifting the attention of regional integration efforts toward lifting or relaxing these constraints.
Value Added Trade Costs in Goods and Services
Findings indicate that in the goods sector and in absolute terms, international trade costs calculated using value added data are lower than those calculated using gross trade and output data. However, in relative terms, bilateral trade costs remain broadly similar regardless of the trade data employed, with trade costs of the Republic of Korea and Malaysia consistently outperforming all other developing countries and most developed countries included in the dataset.
The study reports that value added trade costs are declining over time across most countries and regional groups, and that integration into global supply chains and production networks is clearly associated with this decrease.
Easier sharing, browsing with new Vi website
A new responsive template framework makes it easier to surf the site on your mobile and tablet. The automatic translation functionality makes our content accessible to more of our users. The new agenda helps you keep track of our training offers and upcoming deadlines, and social-media fans can now easily share our news through LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.
Work continues as we “pretty” things up and plan upgrades of the community management system, the digital library and the link to our e-learning platform. We are also looking into solutions for converting our multimedia resources and online course multimedia lectures into a format that will allow viewing on your mobile and other devices.
In the meantime, think about helping us with the updates by making sure that your account information is up to date and that you have uploaded your CV and photo to your personal profile. University and think tank coordinators can also help by taking a look at their institutions’ profiles and ensuring their logo, contact details and description are up to date.
We hope you enjoy the new site and that you will invite your colleagues and other professional contacts to join the Vi by creating an account on the website.
Scholarships available: Vi online course on trade and poverty, third edition - Deadline July 31
Funded by the Government of Finland, the course will provide participants with the empirical tools needed to assess the impact of trade and trade-related policies on poverty and income distribution. In addition to strengthening teaching and research capacities in participants' countries, the course aims to support governments in the design of pro-poor trade policies conducive to the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals and their successor Sustainable Development Goals.
All selected participants will be exempt from course fees, and will receive the course DVD including the Vi teaching material on trade and poverty, free-of-charge.
As a hands-on technical course, the pedagogical approach emphasizes data manipulation and the use of econometric tools. Applicants must, therefore, have knowledge of Stata and trade theory and policy, as well as a Master's degree in Economics and excellent knowledge of English. Participants with passing grades in all course activities will receive a certificate of completion. The top 10 course graduates will receive a copy of the UNCTAD/Vi-WTO book, "A Practical Guide to Trade Policy Analysis."
Applications, including CV and letter of institutional support, must be submitted online no later than July 31.
UNCTAD invites applications for regional course on trade and development - Deadline: August 21
The three-module programme will focus on the following themes: development, development policies and the role of international trade and finance in a globalized world; harnessing benefits from trade: changing dynamics in the multilateral trading system, trade logistics and regional trade agreements; and enhancing productive capacities through foreign direct investment, enterprise development and science, technology and innovation. The course will be given in English.
Although the course is primarily aimed at government officials, academics may also be considered. Selected 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 applications must be routed through the member state's permanent mission in Geneva by August 21.
Call for chapters: Advanced management series
Diplomado de inglés especializado en Cuba
ITC-ILO Gender Academy offers 30 fellowships - Deadline: August 14
Priority is given to nationals from ODA recipient countries; however a limited number of fellowships is also available for nationals from OECD countries. Geographical and gender balance are among the selection criteria for assigning available fellowships.
Applications must be submitted online by August 14.
Vi welcomes new contributors
Julia Seiermann joined the Vi team as an Associate Economic Affairs Officer in June 2015. She holds an MA in International Economics and is currently pursuing a PhD in Development Economics at Vi affiliate university member, the Graduate Institute for International and Development Studies (IHEID) in Geneva. She has research experience in the domains of international trade and development from projects at IHEID's Center for Finance and Development, the International Labour Organization, the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW) and the Ifo Institute for Economic Research. While at the Vi, she will support the development of teaching materials and localizations and tutor the online course on trade and poverty.
Catarina Mastellaro holds a bachelor's degree in international relations from Vi affiliate member, the University of São Paulo, and has recently completed her Master's degree in development studies at IHEID. Before joining the Vi she worked as an external relations and international cooperation advisor at the São Paulo State Government, supporting capacity building activities and organizing conferences and workshops in countries like India, China, South Africa, Morocco and Iran. She started working at the Vi as an intern in December 2013 and is now back as a consultant, contributing to the organization and evaluation of regional and national workshops and other training events. She also assists in the finalization of research papers, teaching materials and localizations.
Farah Jerrari, a Master’s student at Vi French core member, Université Pierre-Mendès-France in Grenoble, began her five-month internship at the Vi in May. Her responsibilities include preparing the June publication packages for our member institutions, updating the digital library, editing videos, and drafting news articles for the website and newsletter. Farah expects to complete her Master’s in International Law and her Business School Master's degree in June 2016, after which she hopes to work for the UN or other international organization.
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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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