Vi Quarterly Newsletter
Issue #47 - December 2015 - Welcome to the Vi quarterly newsletter

The Vi team wishes you a prosperous new year!

  Four new members for the Virtual Institute
Universities from Cameroon, Burkina Faso, and Bosnia and Herzegovina joined UNCTAD's programme for academic cooperation during the final quarter of the year. Vi institutional membership now includes 123 members from 60 countries.


Pan African Institute for Development -Institut Panafricain pour le Développement Three of the universities, associated with the Pan African Institute for Development (PAID), or Institut Panafricain pour le Développement (IPD), are based in Cameroon and Burkina Faso.


Buea-based PAID West Africa (PAID-WA), which joined the Vi October 14, offers Bachelors in environment and agricultural development; gender and project management; migration and refugee studies; Masters in environment and natural resources management; and agriculture and development; and MBAs in areas such as supply chain management. PAID-WA's recent research work covers gender issues in Africa; employment creation; small and medium enterprises; public-private partnerships; business environment and competitiveness; determinants of FDI; oil revenue and development; technology transfer; industrialization; and Africa's economic development. 

Daisy Tembonga Fonkem, holder of an MSc in development studies and teacher of courses on development theory, development management, and integrated rural development, has been named Vi member coordinator. Five colleagues will support the cooperation with the Vi.

Joining October 29, was IPD Afrique Centrale (IPD-AC). Based in Douala, IPD-AC offers undergraduate and graduate programmes in development and regional integration, and in environment and management of natural resources, along with graduate programmes in social and solidarity economy, and management of peace and development, among others. The main research areas of IPD-AC focus on participation of local communities in economic and social development, food security in Cameroon, and decentralization and local development.

Vi member coordinator, Pial Mezala, has a background in international relations and law and concentrates on the areas of environmental law; development finance; WTO law; international economic law; international peacekeeping law; public policies analysis and effectiveness of official development assistance. He will receive support from a team of 14 colleagues. 

Based in Burkina Faso, IPD - Afrique de l’Ouest et Sahel (IPD-AOS) joined November 11, becoming the 58th Vi core university member.

IPD-AOS offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in regional planning; gender, population and development; and project management; and an undergraduate programme in agriculture and technological innovation. Among its main research areas are food security in West Africa, regional planning and development in Africa, and the process of integration of women into economic and social development of their countries. Other areas of work include finance for development, agriculture and rural development, and SME development.

IPD-AOS' director, Fernand Pissang Keller, whose background is in political science, and whose research interests focus on conflict states, use of natural resource rents, and business environment, will act as Vi member coordinator. He will be assisted by five colleagues.

University of Sarajevo Finally, on November 30, the Vi welcomed its 59th core university member, the University of Sarajevo (UNSA), whose School of Economics and Business Sarajevo (SEBS) is the oldest and largest in Bosnia and Herzegovina.


SEBS offers undergraduate, graduate and post-graduate degree programmes, as well as shorter tailored courses for specific industries or companies. Degree programmes include Bachelor's and Master's in economics, management, and applied business, as well as English-language programmes in management, and a Master's in economic diplomacy. SEBS's PhD in business and economics gives students the possibility to follow a research-oriented stream or an executive doctorate in business administration. Additionally, several undergraduate and graduate programmes have been developed jointly with universities in Ireland, Germany, Slovenia, Croatia and the United Kingdom. Recent staff research covers the competitive position of the country's economy, export promotion strategy for Bosnia and Herzegovina, foreign trade policy of the country, and an innovation policy for Western Balkan countries.

Vi member coordinator, Snježana Brkić, is Assistant Professor and Deputy Head of SEBS's Department for Economic Theory and Policy. Holder of a PhD in international economics, she teaches courses on international economics, international trade, international trade and the European Union, advanced international economics and the world trading system. Her recent research includes intra-industry trade and competitiveness of Bosnia and Herzegovina, integration of the country into the international trading system/WTO, and characteristics of Bosnia and Herzegovina as an investment destination.

Vi workshop for Nepalese member trains 36

Government of Finland

Vi workshop for Nepalese member trains 36
The Vi capacity-building project for Least Developed Countries sponsored by the Government of Finland offered a national workshop on harnessing remittances and diasporas for development for 36 participants from core Nepalese member, Mid-western University (MWU), as well as representatives from civil society and mass media, November 2-4.


After introducing the types, causes and patterns of migration, Rolf Traeger, of UNCTAD’s Division on Africa, Least Developed Countries and Special Programmes, reviewed trends and the impact migration can have on home and host countries. He also outlined international policies for migration, and encouraged participants to consider policies that home countries can adopt in order to maximize the contribution of remittances and diasporas to their economic and social development.

“International migration generates financial flows in the form of remittances sent by emigrants to their home countries,” Traeger said. “These emerging diasporas can be harnessed in support of national development, but home countries may be left to grapple with brain drain -- the departure of qualified human capital.”

“I will use the skills in my field of research as well as to motivate my students and colleagues,” said one of the trainees. “As I am in the legal profession and active politically, I will definitely utilize this knowledge in policy discussions,” concluded another.

UNCTAD Virtual Institute e-learning

Government of Finland

Third Vi online course on trade and poverty graduates 51
Fifty-one academics from 30 countries have gained skills enabling them to provide national policymakers with evidence-based analysis on the impact of trade on poverty after successfully completing the latest Vi online course on the topic, held September 14 to November 29. All course participants were granted scholarships by the Government of Finland.


Participants said the course met or exceeded their expectations, and that they had acquired the skills to conduct research on trade and poverty independently or in cooperation with a more experienced researcher. They also said they felt better prepared to teach their students about the tools and methods used in the econometric analysis of trade and poverty.

“Despite the fact that this programme was organized online, it has been very effective and it has challenged me to go the extra mile in coming up with research papers that will be of interest to policymakers in Ghana,” said Emmanuel Orkoh, of Vi core member, the University of Cape Coast.

“As a researcher and lecturer, I have the strong conviction that my university will benefit from my participation in the course a lot,” said Sierra Leone’s Allieu Badara Kabia, currently a PhD student at China’s Liaoning University. “Not only in terms of teaching and mentoring of other lecturers and students but in extending this knowledge to other educational institutions in Sierra Leone in particular, and Africa as a whole.”

“This Virtual Institute professional development opportunity has enhanced my quantitative and analytical skills a lot,” said Togo’s Banawe Plambou Anissa, currently at Benin’s African School of Economics. “I am positively impressed!! Thanks to you all, especially to the Government of Finland, for funding such an interesting programme.”

Vi fellow, Adama Sow Badji, of Senegalese university member,  Université Cheikh Anta Diop (right), and UNCTAD expert, Marco Fugazza

Government of Finland

Latest Vi fellow researches effects of NTMs on Senegalese firms
Adama Sow Badji, lecturer and researcher at Senegalese core member, Université Cheikh Anta Diop, was granted a Vi research fellowship sponsored by the Government of Finland September 14 to October 23. Her goal was to assess the impact on non-tariff measures (NTMs), in particular sanitary and phytosanitary measures and technical barriers to trade, on exports of Senegalese firms to the European Union.


Working with UNCTAD mentor, Marco Fugazza, of the Division on International Trade in Goods and Services, and Commodities, Sow Badji was able to complete her database and empirical analysis, performing estimations using Stata. She plans to submit her results for publication in January.

"The paper could be useful for the government's negotiations of NTMs, in particular about mutual recognition or preferential treatment of Senegalese products with regard to NTMs," Fugazza said.

Geneva-based country representatives agree. During a discussion of Sow Badji’s work with Magor Mbayé and Malick Diallo, first counsellors at the permanent mission of Senegal to the UN, they said that strengthening the link between researchers and policymakers would be very useful, particularly if the mission or the ministry could be more involved in the identification of questions/areas on which the university could undertake research in response to government's needs.

"The fellowship has exceeded my expectations," Sow Badji said. "I gained more than I expected, and for my institution, deepening my knowledge in trade and development is a further asset, which will be shared through the courses I will teach, and in the field, while taking part in panels at seminars and conferences."

Vi fellow, Willy-Marcel Ndayitwayeko, of the University of Burundi (left), and Vi Chief, Vlasta MackuGovernment of Finland New master’s for Burundi university goal of latest Vi fellow
Vi fellow, Willy-Marcel Ndayitwayeko, prepared a proposal for a new Master's programme in international and development economics for Vi core member, the University of Burundi (UB), during his stay at UNCTAD October 26 to December 4. The fellowship was funded by the Government of Finland.


During his stay in Geneva, he held consultations with the Vi team about the overall thrust of the programme, the courses that could be included, and publicly available readings that could be used by the students. The Vi also facilitated meetings with UNCTAD experts and academics from Vi affiliate university member, the Graduate Institute, Vi German core university member, University of Applied Sciences Berlin, the Haute école de gestion de Genève, and the University of Geneva. At the end of the fellowship, he met with the Ambassador of Burundi to the United Nations in Geneva, H.E. Mr. Pierre Claver Ndayiragije, who highly appreciated the fellowship project, as well as Vi's support to the University of Burundi.

“My institution will benefit from the program, developed in part with the experts,” Ndayitwayeko asserted. “The fellowship strengthens the partnership existing between the Vi and UB, and its success opens an avenue for others from the university to take up such an opportunity in the future.”

Vi's Susana Olivares (left) and UNCTAD expert, Alfredo Calcagno


Vi Chief, Vlasta Macku (foreground) and UNCTAD expert, Alex Izurieta

From left to right: Gerald Pajuelo, Counsellor at Peru's Permanent Mission to the UN in Geneva, UNCTAD expert, Edgardo Torija Zane, and Vi Chief, Vlasta Macku

Vi Chief, Vlasta Macku (left) and UNCTAD expert, Evru Vojvoda

Vi Chief, Vlasta Macku (left) and UNCTAD expert, Kalman Kalotay

Vi Chief, Vlasta Macku (left) and UNCTAD expert, Mohamed Chiraz Baly

UNCTAD expert, Noelia Garcia Nebra (left) and Gerald Pajuelo Ponce, Counsellor at Peru's Permanent Mission to the UN in Geneva

UNCTAD's TDR and WIR reach more than 450 in six countries through Vi videoconferences
The Vi organized seven videoconference presentations of the latest editions of UNCTAD flagship publications, the Trade and Development Report (TDR) and the World Investment Report (WIR), in the last quarter of the year.


The four Vi videoconferences on the TDR attracted more than 300 lecturers and researchers at Vi member universities in Colombia, South Africa, Peru and the Philippines.

According to this year’s TDR, the lack of dynamism of the aggregate demand at the international level and of reform of the international financial system impedes the global economy to grow at higher rates and regain its pre-crisis momentum.

“The current international financial architecture does not promote economic development,” TDR team leader, UNCTAD’s Alfredo Calcagno told 43 participants from Vi Colombian core member, Universidad EAFIT, and affiliate members, Universidad EAN and Universidad de la Salle, attending the Vi videoconference held October 20.

"What we are concerned about is what we call a tepid recovery in developed countries. In our view, developed countries did not perform well not only because of fiscal austerity policies, but also because of the long-term deterioration of the wage share in their GDP, which limited domestic demand," said UNCTAD's Alex Izurieta during the Vi videoconference held November 12 for eight researchers and graduate students at Vi South African affiliate member, the North-West University.

These trends, combined with financial fragility and instability and growing inequality, reveal the lack of a well-functioning international monetary and financial system, which should be able to properly regulate international liquidity, avoid large and lasting imbalances and allow for counter-cyclical policies, UNCTAD's Edgardo Torija Zane explained to an audience of about 50 from three universities gathered at Vi core member, the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú (PUCP) November 19.

"There is a need for radical reform in many areas, including in banking regulation" to establish a more stable and inclusive international monetary and financial system that can support the development challenges over the coming years, UNCTAD’s Ebru Vovoda told the 147 participants gathered at Filipino core member, Ateneo de Manila University, November 23.

UNCTAD WIR co-authors also shared their expertise through three Vi videoconferences attended by a combined audience of 139 from six universities and government institutions in Russia, Peru and Morocco.

In 2014, global foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows dropped by 16 percent to USD 1.2 trillion amid slow economic growth in the global economy, reports this year’s WIR.

“The decline in FDI was particularly sizable in the Russian Federation, from USD 69 billion in 2013 (the second highest level since transition began) to USD 21 billion in 2014. This significant drop occurred amid a decline in the economic performance of the Russian Federation,” UNCTAD's Kalman Kalotay explained to the nearly 90 students and lecturers from four Russian universities attending the Vi videoconference hosted by Vi affiliate members, St. Petersburg State University and and the Moscow State Institute of International Relations, October 5.

“Despite the decline, developing economies are increasingly important as a destination of such investment flows,” said UNCTAD's Mohamed Chiraz Baly, during the videoconference for about 30 participants from Vi core Moroccan member, Université Mohammed V – Souissi, and other institutions, including the External Trade Ministry and the Agence marocaine de développement, December 7. “China became the world’s largest recipient of FDI, surpassing the United States. Among the top 10 FDI recipients in the world, five are developing economies.”

For 2015 and beyond, UNCTAD’s FDI forecast model projects global FDI inflows to increase from USD 14 billion in 2014 to USD 17 billion in 2017, but  “we need to remain cautious, as risks looming over the global economy may darken the outlook for FDI,” UNCTAD's Noelia Garcia Nebra told the 19 participants from PUCP November 6.

  Vi study tours and visits train 98 students and teachers from Vi university members in Colombia, China and Germany
A group of 37 students and teachers from two Virtual Institute Chinese university members received training on topics related to trade and development during a Vi study tour held October 5-9.


The seventh Virtual Institute study tour for Colombian member universities provided 15 students and lecturers with a one-week training programme on trade and development issues November 16-20.

Ten students and lecturers from core Colombian member, Universidad EAFIT, took part in a full-day training programme at UNCTAD as part of a Vi-organized study visit October 9.

The fourth Virtual Institute study visit for Colombian affiliate member, Universidad Sergio Arboleda, brought 15 Master's in International Trade students to UNCTAD October 19.

A group of 36 students and two lecturers from German Virtual Institute core member university, HTW Berlin – University of Applied Sciences, participated in lectures led by UNCTAD experts November 26, as part of the fifth Vi study visit for HTW.

The sixth annual Vi study tour for Chinese university members brought 37 students and teachers from the University of International Business and Economics and the Central University of Finance and Economics to Geneva for training on trade and development topics October 5-9.


The programme included 14 sessions on global trade issues with a focus on China’s recent developments delivered by experts from UNCTAD, and Vi partners, the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the International Trade Centre (ITC). Students also met with national representatives at the Permanent Mission to discuss the day-to-day work of the mission and ask country-specific questions related to UNCTAD and the WTO.

"We have learned a lot about trade-related topics and now know the functions of UNCTAD, WTO and ITC. This is really helpful for our future careers," a student said. "As a student who majored in investment, I didn’t know so much about international trade and development, but through this study tour I have broadened my horizons," added another.

The seventh annual Vi study tour for Colombian member universities engaged 15 students and lecturers in a one-week training programme on trade and development issues November 16-20. The group included participants from Universidad EAFIT, Universidad de la Sabana and Universidad ICESI.

The training programme included 15 sessions covering the latest trends in the world economy, as well as foreign direct investment, science and technology, climate change, industrial policies, the 2030 agenda for development, and international trade negotiations. The presentations were delivered by experts from UNCTAD, ITC and the WTO. Students also met Ambassador Beatriz Londoño, of the Permanent Mission of Colombia to the UN, and Ambassador Gabriel Duque and Deputy Permanent Representative Alfredo Ramos, of the Permanent Mission of Colombia to the WTO.

“I loved that the study tour was very interactive and all of the presenters were very open to our questions and willing to share their knowledge with us,” said one participant. “It was interesting to learn about different areas of trade and development and to compare them with the situation in Colombia and our country's position in the rest of the world,” added another.

Colombian Master's students also took part in Vi study visits this quarter. Training for 10 students from core Colombian member, Universidad EAFIT, took place October 9, while the study visit for 15 students from affiliate member, Universidad Sergio Arboleda, was held October 19. The training programmes included sessions on the work and key objectives of UNCTAD, industrial policy, technology and innovation, trade facilitation, trade in services in Colombia, and the international investment regime, as well as the findings of the latest Trade and Development Report (TDR).

"The visit was a life-changing experience," said EAFIT lecturer, Ricardo Uribe Marin. "The students were very impressed by the content of the presentations and the fact of being at the Palais." 

The last study visit of the year, held November 26, was the fifth for students and lecturers of core German member, HTW Berlin – University of Applied Sciences. This year, 36 students participated in sessions on the TDR and the work of the Virtual Institute led by UNCTAD's Edgardo Torija Zane and Susana Olivares.

102 admitted to second edition of Vi online course on trade and gender 102 admitted to second edition of Vi online course on trade and gender
The Virtual Institute admitted 103 participants from 56 countries to the third edition of its online course on trade and gender, scheduled for January 4 to February 21. All participants were granted scholarships funded by the Government of Finland. The 59 academics and 43 members of government, civil society and international organizations were selected from a pool of 173 applications.


Developed in cooperation with the UNCTAD Trade, Gender and Development Section, the course seeks to enhance the knowledge about the links between trade and gender among stakeholders in developing and transition countries. The first edition of the course, held January 19 to March 8 2015, graduated 66 participants from 40 countries.

“The course was successful in explaining how to examine the gender profile of an economy by looking at the economy through a gender lens, thus making visible the unpaid household-based work of caring for others that is important for continued functioning of the market-oriented economy and also identifying how gender inequality affects women in the multiple roles they play in the economy,” said first-edition graduate, Paul Macaulay, of the Organization for Gender, Civic Engagement and Youth Development in Cameroon.

Based on Volume 1 of the Vi teaching material on trade and gender, the three-module course includes multimedia lectures, readers, quizzes and exercises, as well as interactive communication through forums, instant messaging and web-based videoconference.

Nearly 3700 publications on the way to Vi members Nearly 3700 publications on their way to Vi member institutions
Vi intern, Vijeany Manguila, is busy putting together publication packages destined for the libraries of our 123 member institutions.


Generously provided by our UNCTAD colleagues, the nearly 3700 publications and CDs to be distributed this year include the latest editions of UNCTAD flagship publications, the Trade and Development Report, the World Investment Report, the Economic Development in Africa Report, the Least Developed Countries Report and the Review of Maritime Transport.

Vi website, December 2015 Out with the old, in with the new! - End of year site cleanup
Among our 5223 Vi website users from 170 countries, we are lucky to have many long-time members. Because things change -- our e-mails, our addresses, our jobs! -- we encourage you to update your account information so that we can reach you and send our materials to the correct place. And, to make sure other members get to know you, don't forget to upload a recent photo and CV.


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.

UNCTAD Virtual Institute

Government of Finland

Local adaptations of Virtual Institute teaching materials on RTAs and commodities just published
The adaptation of the generic Vi teaching material on regional trade agreements (RTAs) to the context of Ethiopia by Martha Belete Hailu of Vi core Ethiopian university member, Addis Ababa University, analyzes the relationship between treaties establishing regional blocs, in particular the Common Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), and the domestic legal system of Ethiopia. The material, developed with support from UNCTAD's Luisa Rodriguez and the Vi team, is meant for senior students enrolled in courses on international trade law at the Addis Ababa University.


After reviewing the current state of regional integration efforts in the continent, Hailu introduces the two main ways in which regional integration treaties interact with national laws and legal systems of the signatories -- direct applicability in national legal systems, and incorporation into national systems through domestic legislation. She then looks in greater detail into specific trade-related issues (market access, trade remedies, competition law, rules of origin, trade facilitation, and dispute settlement) featured in RTAs in general, and in COMESA in particular. The material concludes by outlining some of the challenges faced by regional integration in Africa, including those of a legal nature such as the overlapping membership of various regional economic communities.

The adaptation of the RTA material for Nigeria was undertaken by a group of lecturers from Vi affiliate member, Covenant University, led by member coordinator, Evans Osabuohien. Developed with support from UNCTAD's Alessandro Nicita and the Vi team, the material assesses regional integration within the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

After an introduction to the history and institutional architecture of ECOWAS, the material identifies constraints affecting trade flows within the sub-region, among them customs procedures and non-tariff barriers; infrastructural challenges; preferential access to markets outside ECOWAS; and insufficient development of the financial sector in the sub-region. In this context, the authors examine trade performance in ECOWAS, namely intra-regional trade flows, trade patterns and partners, and selected indicators of trade performance such as trade similarity, trade complementarity and trade concentration indexes. To conclude, the authors apply the augmented gravity analytical framework to provide extensive analysis of the factors that affect intra-regional trade.

The localization of the Vi teaching material on the economics of commodities production and trade was developed by Albert Makochekanwa, of Vi core member, the University of Zimbabwe, with comments from UNCTAD's Pilar Fajarnés and the Vi team.

The material analyzes the role of the mining sector in the economy of Zimbabwe. It introduces the reader to basic facts about the production and trade of diamonds, gold and platinum, which constitute more than 90 percent of the country's total mineral exports, and examines the evolution of international prices for these minerals. It also assesses the contribution of mining to the country's gross domestic product, export revenues, employment and growth, and investment. Makochekanwa also analyzes case studies of successful mineral development in other African countries and highlights lessons learned. The material concludes with proposals for policies that could enhance the contribution of minerals to economic development both in Zimbabwe and in the African context in general.

All adaptations were funded by the Government of Finland. They are available exclusively to logged-in Vi university members.

Vi multimedia teaching resources New Vi multilingual multimedia teaching resources on UNCTAD's TDR and WIR now online
The fall videoconference season gave us the opportunity to develop new multimedia teaching resources ready for the classroom, or for our teachers to use in updating their course content, or for our researchers to beef up their work.


The first resource, TDR15: Making the international financial architecture work for development, was recorded during Vi videoconferences for Tanzania and Colombia. Available in English and Spanish, the presentations were delivered by Trade and Development Report co-authors, Alfredo Calcagno and Elissa Braunstein. The experts take stock of the global economy, focusing on international financial markets, and propose policies to address the roots of the economic crisis.

We were also able to add a French version to our multimedia package on the World Investment Report. Filmed during a Vi videoconference for Morocco, the presentation was delivered by UNCTAD's Mohamed Chiraz Baly.

Virtual Institute Vi study tour resources now available
Materials from the November study tour for Colombian member universities are available to our members. Presentations and documents provided by UNCTAD, ITC and WTO experts cover topics on trade and development; foreign direct investment; technology and innovation; climate change; industrial policies; the 2030 agenda for development and international trade negotiations.


UNCTAD Trade and Development Report, 2015 UNCTAD Trade and Development Report (TDR) 2015 - Making the international financial architecture work for development
The combination of a tepid recovery in developed countries and persisting financial instability in the world continues to adversely affect the growth prospects of developing countries, according to this year's TDR.


International liquidity and capital movements respond to economic conditions in developed countries rather than to the actual needs in developing countries, and the activities of large international banks and financial intermediaries have increased much more rapidly than the capacity of any public institution (national or multilateral) to effectively regulate them. This has resulted in an increase and fluctuation of flows of liquidity, as well as growing debt in developing countries since the 1990s.

In this context, the report looks into ways in which the international financial architecture could better support development, concluding that a combination of national policies and internationally coordinated measures is needed to redress this situation. Among the national policy measures proposed by the report are the accumulation of reserves at the national or regional level, a managed floating exchange rate system, capital account management, and reduction of debt denominated in foreign currency. Ensuring long-term development finance is also crucial, and the report suggests a greater role for development banks in this area, complemented by the use of official development assistance, sovereign wealth funds and potentially public-private partnerships.

UNCTAD Least Developed Countries Report 2015 UNCTAD Least Developed Countries (LDC) Report 2015 - Transforming Rural Economies
More than two-thirds of people in LDCs live in rural areas, where poverty is deepest and most widespread, and infrastructure and social welfare provision most lacking. Rural development is therefore central not only for poverty eradication, employment generation and economic development, but also for sustainable urbanization in these countries as they progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals.


This year's LDC report puts rural development in the context of the 2030 agenda for sustainable development, and provides a detailed assessment of LDCs' progress in agricultural productivity, the extent and nature of their rural economic diversification, and gender issues in rural transformation. Based on this analysis, the report proposes a new approach to rural development centered around a poverty-oriented structural transformation that would increase productivity and generate higher incomes. Such strategy would aim at upgrading agriculture, developing viable non-farm activities, and fully exploiting the synergies between farm and non-farm activities.

UNCTAD Review of Maritime Transport 2015 UNCTAD Review of Maritime Transport (RMT) 2015
The 2015 edition of UNCTAD's RMT reports that global seaborne shipments increased by 3.4 percent in 2014, at the same rate as in 2013, but faster than global GDP growth, which stood at 2.5 percent. Gradual rise in developing countries' share of world container throughput also continued, and reached 71.9 per cent in 2014. Findings indicate that developing countries, especially in Africa and Oceania, pay 40 to 70 percent more on average for international transport of their imports than developed countries, due to these regions' trade imbalances, pending port and trade facilitation reforms, as well as lower trade volumes and shipping connectivity.


The report notes that further development of ports and maritime transport is increasingly influenced by environmental constraints and considerations enforced by international regulatory frameworks such as the International Maritime Organization Polar Code adopted in 2014. The code established mandatory provisions to ensure ship safety and prevent environmental pollution in Arctic and Antarctic waters, as well as regulatory measures aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions from international shipping and protecting against ship-source air pollution.

WTO World Trade Report 2015 World Trade Report 2015 - Speeding up trade: Benefits and challenges of implementing the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement
This edition of the annual WTO report is the first detailed study of the potential impacts of the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) concluded at the Ministerial Conference in Bali in December 2013.


The report finds that despite large reductions in tariffs and other trade barriers, trade costs still remain very high, in particular for developing countries, where they are equivalent to applying a 219 percent ad-valorem tariff on international trade. According to the authors, full implementation of the TFA will reduce trade costs by an average of 14.3 percent, which would lead to export gains of between USD 750 million and over USD 1 trillion, depending on the implementation time frame and coverage.

Rethinking Development Strategies After the Financial Crisis Rethinking Development Strategies after the Financial Crisis
A joint publication of UNCTAD and Vi core university member, HTW Berlin – University of Applied Sciences, this publication explores the nature and consequences of the global financial crisis and proposes measures to ensure that the recent improvement in developing countries' performance continues in the future.


The authors suggest that countries need a strategic compass for long-term economic development that includes macroeconomic policies, sectoral policies, institution building in key areas, and development-friendly global governance. Also needed is policy space for governments to adjust to their evolving social and institutional contexts.

□	Asia-Pacific Trade and Investment Report 2015: Supporting Participation in Value Chains UNESCAP Asia-Pacific Trade and Investment Report 2015: Supporting Participation in Value Chains
The Asia-Pacific Trade and Investment Report 2015, published by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, analyzes trends and developments in intra- and inter-regional trade in goods and services; foreign direct investment; trade facilitation measures; trade policy measures; and preferential trade policies and agreements in the region. Based on this analysis, the report provides insights into the impact of these developments on the ability of the region's countries to achieve inclusive and sustainable development.


This edition's special topic examines the spread of global value chains (GVCs) in the Asia-Pacific region, and evaluates policies that contribute to the participation of developing countries in GVCs. The report also includes summary briefs for the Asia-Pacific subregions and for selected regional economies.

ITC SME Competitiveness Outlook 2015 ITC SME Competitiveness Outlook 2015
The report highlights the fundamental role small and medium enterprises (SMEs) have in addressing global income inequality, and presents a new analytical framework to measure, identify and enhance SME competitiveness. It introduces a working definition of firm competitiveness and presents the SME Competitiveness Grid as a tool to classify determinants of firm competitiveness.


This year's issue covers the topic of SME internationalization, combining analysis, leader insights and case stories about SMEs in international markets, along with a pilot competitiveness assessment for 25 countries. 

Bussiness Schools for Impact UNCTAD's Business Schools for Impact -
The website of UNCTAD’s Business Schools for Impact (BSI) initiative provides access to a range of educational resources related to investing and doing business in developing countries while making a positive social impact. The topics of course modules, made available mainly by developed country universities, include global business strategies and society; social entrepreneurship; sustainable business; renewable energy management; financial and managerial accounting; emerging markets and a global world; and business models and strategies. Case studies relate to social and environment-conscious business and include studies focusing on women entrepreneurship. The materials are accessible to business school students and lecturers upon registration on the BSI website. 


UNCTAD Virtual Institute

Tanzania One UN Fund

Government of Finland

Vi national workshops for Tanzania, Senegal and Chad: Places available (need agenda links)
The Vi, with funding from the One UN Fund for Tanzania, is organizing a workshop on structural transformation and industrial policyfor Vi members in Tanzania February 23-25. Delivered by UNCTAD's Piergiuseppe Fortunato, the workshop will discuss state interventions designed to accelerate the gradual transformation of the economic structure in developing countries. Vi institutional member, the University of Dar es Salaam Business School, the Open University of Tanzania, and the East African Research Capacity Development Foundation, have made available up to 10 places for lecturers and researchers in the area. To apply, submit your CV and a short motivation letter (maximum 500 words) explaining how your participation in the workshop will contribute to your future work and the work of your institution to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by February 9.

Senegalese member, Cheikh Anta Diop University, has also made available six additional places for the Finnish-funded Vi workshop on harnessing remittances and diasporas for development scheduled for March 2-4. Delivered by Rolf Traeger, lead author of UNCTAD's Least Developed Countries Report, the workshop will look at the benefits countries can derive from remittances as a new source of financing for development, and from using diasporas to help foster trade, investment and technology transfer with their countries of origin. To apply, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Places may also be available for the Vi workshop on applying econometrics to economic decision-making, which will be held March 14-18 at Chadian Vi member, the Université de N'Djaména. Also funded by the Government of Finland, the workshop will be delivered by UNCTAD's Janvier Nkurunziza. The training programme will review the basics of applied econometrics, and cover topics such as time series, limited dependent variables, volatility models, panel data, and duration models. To apply, contactThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Candidates selected are responsible for covering all costs related to their participation.

UNCTAD regional course on key issues on the international economic agenda UNCTAD invites applications for transition countries regional course
Vi members from transition economy countries may apply to attend UNCTAD's flagship course on international economic issues to be hosted by core Vi member, the University of Belgrade, May 16 to June 3. The three-module course will focus on the links between trade, investment, finance and development.


The course will be given in English, with simultaneous interpretation into Russian. UNCTAD will cover local costs for all participants. Funding of travel is available for participants from lower-income countries.

Applications, due March 25, should be routed through the candidate's permanent mission in Geneva.

UNCTAD Virtual Institute Internship available at the Vi – Deadline January 15
The UNCTAD Virtual Institute is recruiting a project management intern for its Geneva-based team.


Eligible candidates must be Master's students or recent graduates who can commit to work five days per week (35 hours) for four to six months beginning February 1. Priority will be given to applicants with skills in filming, video-editing and distance learning development, as well as English-language drafting.

As with all UN internships, the post is unpaid. Interns are responsible for all costs associated with travel, stay and insurance.

An official job posting will be available soon. In the meantime, interested candidates may submit a CV and brief motivation letter toThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by January 15

Progress in International Business Research Call for articles: International business journal
Vi members are invited to submit research papers or teaching cases for Volume 11 of the journal, Progress in International Business Research, which will focus on the challenge for BRIC multinationals (MNEs).


Research topics cover the theoretical, empirical, managerial and policymaking aspects of internationalization strategies of BRIC MNEs and their relationship with home country policies.

Manuscripts may be submitted no later than April 15 to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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

Watson Munyanyi and Campion Chiromba, Great Zimbabwe University Vi associates member published in Colombian business journal
Watson Munyanyi and Campion Chiromba of the Great Zimbabwe University (GZU), recently published the article, Tax incentives and investment expansion: Evidence from Zimbabwe's tourism industry, in the digital journal of Vi core Colombian university member, Universidad EAFIT.


Submitted following a notification from the Vi to the membership, their article investigates the effects of tax incentives on investment growth in the tourism sector in less developed countries, using Zimbabwe as the case study.

  Vi team news
Virtual Institute economist, Julia Seiermann Julia Seiermann, Vi economist since June, has moved to the Research Section of UNCTAD's Division on International Trade in Goods and Services, and Commodities (DITC), where she will be conducting research on trade-related topics such as trade and the sustainable development goals (SDGs).


At the Vi, she contributed to the development of Vi teaching materials and lent her support to Vi fellows, researchers and lecturers. Her commitment and expertise garnered high praise from the participants of the latest edition of the Vi online course on trade and poverty.

Julia will continue supporting the Vi this year as mentor of Vi fellow, Aman Mdewa, during his research project on trade and poverty reduction in Tanzania.

Virtual Institute economist, Francesca Guadagno Francesca Guadagno joined the Vi team in December. She holds a PhD from the United Nations University - MERIT. She has research experience in the domains of structural change, industrial policies and innovation, and has contributed to projects for the Asian Development Bank, the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the E15 Initiative.


While at the Vi, Francesca will work on the development of a teaching material on structural transformation and industrial policy and a local adaptation of the Vi teaching material on competitiveness and development for Tanzania.

Virtual Institute economist, Caspar Sauter Caspar Sauter joined the Vi team in January. He holds a PhD in Economics from the University of Neuchâtel, Switzerland. His fields of expertise are environmental economics, environmental regulation, international economics and inequalities.


At the Vi, he will backstop Vi technical cooperation activities for academic institutions in developing and the least developed countries, support the development of teaching materials on trade and environment, and guide research papers on trade and gender developed by academics from sub-Saharan Africa.

Vi contributor, economist Edgardo Torija Zane Edgardo Torija Zane, a colleague in UNCTAD's Division on Globalization and Development Strategies, has been supporting Vi videoconferences and study tours since October. A member of the Macroeconomic and Development Policies Branch, Edgardo is a co-author of UNCTAD's Trade and Development Report.
He holds a PhD in Economics from the University of Paris Dauphine and specializes in monetary economics and macroeconomic policy. He has taught macroeconomics in several universities in Argentina and France and has written several academic articles on issues related to economic development and finance.


Vi intern, Vijeany Manguila Vijeany Manguila joined the VI team as project management intern in October. She holds a Master’s in Business Planning and Information Systems from the Technological Education Institute of Patra (Greece). She is responsible for the distribution of biannual publication packages for our 120 member institutions, editing videos, contributing to the development of online courses, and assisting with other Vi activities.
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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