Aid For Trade
Aid for Trade helps developing countries, particularly LDCs, to trade. These countries face a range of supply-side and trade-related infrastructure obstacles that constrain their ability to engage in international trade, and Aid for Trade helps countries overcome those obstacles. This includes a broad range of support, for example developing trade strategies, building infrastructure like roads and ports, and investing in specific sectors so countries can diversify exports. Much of EIF's work falls under the Aid for Trade umbrella.
The WTO-led Aid for Trade Initiative encourages governments and donors to recognize the role that trade can play in development. In particular, the Initiative seeks to mobilize resources to address the trade-related constraints identified by developing countries, including LDCs.
At the WTO's Sixth Session of its Ministerial Conference in Hong Kong in December 2005, the WTO launched the Aid for Trade Initiative, reaffirming its intention to support the trade capacity of LDCs. The progress of Aid for Trade towards its desired results is assessed by a joint WTO-OECD monitoring and evaluation framework, with outcomes published in the annual Aid for Trade at a Glance report.
By 2030, most of the world’s poor are expected to live in fragile and conflict-affected countries. While trade opens new opportunities, the countries that have long been isolated by years of conflict have yet to fully realize their trade potential, facing specific conflict-related challenges in building their economic foundation and integrating into the global economy.
Since its inception, EIF has worked with fragile and conflict-affected countries to lay the foundations for trade and development. Moving forward and based on EIF's experience and lessons learnt supporting such countries, the programme will apply a new implementation approach that takes into consideration special circumstances and aims to best achieve results for local people, institutions and economies. Institutional support will be customized to ensure a basic infrastrucure is in place, and coordination with partners and national programme cycles will be synchronized, and a flexible approach in development and implementation will be employed.
The EIF is also working with regional and local institutions to support countries to develop graduation strategies and transitional capacity-building measures.
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.