Gender and trade
EIF is fully committed to putting gender considerations into the heart of national development plans and trade policy. The programme has a mandate to help LDCs benefit from global trade by tackling bottlenecks and promoting sustainable economic growth, and central to this is the need to address gender-specific constraints and increase trading opportunities for both women and men.
Tackling gender issues often amounts to creating a more gender‑neutral environment for the production and trade in goods and services, and typically relates to areas such as employment, legal structures, customs and individual household situations. EIF offers solutions to improve women's economic situations, to alleviate the supply-side constraints that particularly affect women, and to improve women's access to markets. Many industries and businesses - especially SMEs - are female-dominated, therefore it is crucial that they are granted the same access as men.
EIF's trade research and analysis reports on gender issues and makes country-specific recommendations for increasing trading opportunities for women.
ITC in partnership with EIF developed a module on gender mainstreaming that was piloted in Rwanda in November 2011, with training given to build capacity of national officials and other stakeholders to incorporate gender as a cross-cutting issue in EIF projects. In Rwanda, gender is now considered a key tool for development in the National Trade Policy.
EIF is a unique global partnership between Least Developed Countries (LDCs), funding partners and international agencies, and Phase Two of the programme was designed with the Global Goals in mind – to work to achieve them and to offer the international community ways to report on progress.
International trade is a key element in the 2030 Agenda, cutting across almost all goals, with key links to areas such as employment, women's empowerment, food security and the alleviation of inequality. Trade is directly related to 11 targets under 9 of the goals, and is indirectly related to an additional 32 targets under 14 of the goals. EIF is specifically mentioned in Goal 8 Target 8.A, which calls on countries to "increase Aid for Trade support for developing countries, in particular least developed countries, including through the Enhanced Integrated Framework for Trade-related Technical Assistance to Least developed countries."
EIF works to effect a trade agenda conducive to sustainable pro-poor growth and promotes effective national policy and institutional frameworks, all critical to underpinnng LDC progress toards 2030 achievement.
Trade and agriculture
Agriculture and its connections to trade are critical in supporting sustainable development in the Least Developed Countries (LDCs), as the highest share of employment is typically in agriculture, and most poor live in rural areas. As the dominant source of employment, agricultural productivity is the main determinant of the incomes of the majority of the workforce in the LDCs, and low productivity in agriculture is thus a major reason for the prevalence and persistence of poverty.
Investments in agriculture focused on Aid for Trade lead to significant impact on poverty reduction, contributing 1.6 times the impact of industrial growth and 3 times that of growth in the services sector. Therefore, securing equitable, inclusive and sustainable economic growth and development in the LDCs requires a focus on agriculture and targeted strategies tied to markets.
EIF works with many LDCs to support trade policies tied to agriculture, as well as supporting on-the-ground efforts to improve crop yields and quality, to increase processing capabilities and to access new markets. In Malawi, this has resulted in US$47 million in new agriculture exports.