The aim of Aid for Trade (AfT) is to help developing countries engage in the global economy, by improving trade-related infrastructures and addressing supply-side constraints as well as facilitating market access. Since the 2005 AfT Initiative, the EIF has played a pivotal role in the process by assisting Least Developed Countries (LDCs) in reaching global markets.

Aid for Trade

AfT assists developing countries, especially LDCs, in engaging with global markets by strengthening their trade capacity and trade-related infrastructures. With the Brussels Programme of Action for the Least Developed Countries for the Decade 2001-2010, a comprehensive set of commitments spearheaded by the UN aiming to eradicate poverty in LDCs ensured that AfT became a crucial component of Official Development Assistance (ODA). The Brussels Programme recalled the difficulties faced by LDCs as well as the measures necessary to reintegrate marginalized countries into the multilateral trading system. It committed both development partners and LDCs to a series of actions aimed towards trade integration. Support to LDCs mainly consisted of financial aid, technical assistance and simplified access to developed country markets. Overall AfT commitments have amounted to US$66 billion for the period 2001‑2011.

Similarly, the WTO declared "technical cooperation and capacity building" with regard to developing capacities for least-developed and low-income countries as a priority for the Doha Round. At the Sixth Session of its Ministerial Conference held in Hong Kong in December of 2005, the WTO reaffirmed its intention to take on an important role in this area by launching the AfT Initiative. As a result of this Initiative, which involved not only the WTO but also other organizations, donor contributions increased further, and an annual event, the Global Review of Aid for Trade, was created.

The progress of AfT towards its desired results is assessed by a joint WTO-OECD monitoring and evaluation framework. This framework annually publishes a report of Aid for Trade at a Glance. Another report by this framework, focusing on LDCs, concluded in 2011 that there had been a "steady, if hard-won progress" in achieving AfT results. It also showcased success stories such as that of Cabo Verde, which graduated from the LDC list in 2008 with assistance notably from the EIF.

Kingdom of Saudi Arabia aids poorest countries with US$4 million to fight poverty through export‑led trade

9 March 2017


The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is actively supporting the Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF) programme by contributing for the implementation of Phase Two of the programme US$4 million to help the world's Least Developed Countries (LDCs) to make gains from global trade and provide a route out of poverty. Saudi Arabia has also previously contributed US$3 million for the implementation of Phase One of the programme.


Sweden gives SEK 100 million to help poorest countries trade out of poverty

2 March 2017

The Government of Sweden (via Sida) is committing SEK 100 million (US$11.5 million) for the second phase of the Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF) programme, providing an immediate disbursement of SEK 20 million (US$2.4 million) for 2017. The contribution will help support trade development capacity in the world's poorest countries and help to create jobs that lift people, particularly women and youth, out of poverty.

Finland gives €6 million to support inclusive trade in the world's poorest countries

Geneva, 4 November 2016

 The Government of Finland is providing its first instalment of €6 million as part of its €10 million pledge for the second phase of the Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF): Trade for LDC Development programme. The contribution will help the world's poorest countries to realize their trade potential, offering a route out of poverty and a path towards sustainable and inclusive development.

Maximizing the benefits of WTO membership: Life after accession for Afghanistan and Liberia

Nairobi, 19 July 2016

Opportunities and challenges of how Afghanistan and Liberia can fully utilize their accession to the WTO with development partners' support were at the core of the discussions in today's high-level Post‑Accession Forum Breakfast, held in the margins of the Fourteenth Session of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD XIV) in Nairobi.

The event followed the approval of the Protocols on the Accession of Afghanistan and Liberia by the Tenth WTO Ministerial Conference held in December 2015.

Donors confirm strong support to the EIF Phase Two as WTO 10th Ministerial Conference opens in Nairobi

Fifteen donor countries have pledged USD 90 million for Phase Two of the Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF), which is dedicated to helping least-developed countries (LDCs) use trade as a vehicle for economic growth and poverty reduction. The support was confirmed at a Pledging Conference in Nairobi on 14 December, held on the eve of the WTO's Ministerial Conference.

Phase Two of the EIF started on 1 January 2016.

Mali: Concerted support for a sustainable trading future

Mali: Concerted support for a sustainable trading future

"Through the project, four municipalities of Bema District have now come together to protect acacia and promote and market gum arabic… this has meant many employment opportunities for our young people to earn an income and resist the temptation to venture abroad seeking jobs." – Oumar Cissokho, gum arabic producer

Lao PDR: Building trade capacity, fostering jobs and decent work for all

Lao PDR: Building trade capacity, fostering jobs and decent work for all

“Training is very important to improve the skills and knowledge. We can see that the performance is increased which gives more good results, more output and they feel confident to apply this to their jobs.” – Borivone Phafong, Director, Garment Skills Development Centre

Lesotho: Improving productive capacities, sustainable consumption and production patterns

Lesotho: Improving productive capacities, sustainable consumption and production patterns

“From our greenhouse operations, we have contributed meaningfully towards the livelihoods of others around the village in which we’re working, and we are supplying supermarkets and restaurants in Maseru as well as in markets in neighbouring South Africa.” – 'Matiti Kabi Sekamaneng, an owner and primary supervisor of tomato and mushroom cultivation and one of the beneficiaries of the EIF high-value fresh fruits and vegetables project.