Aid For Trade
Aid for Trade helps developing countries, particularly LDCs, to trade. Many such countries face a range of supply-side and trade-related infrastructure obstacles that constrains their ability to engage in international trade. Aid for Trade is broad, and includes technical assistance like helping countries develop trade strategies, building infrastructure like roads and ports, and investing in sectors so countries can diversify exports. Much of EIF's work in countries falls under the Aid for Trade umbrella.
The WTO-led Aid for Trade initiative encourages developing country 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 and LDCs.
At the WTO's Sixth Session of its Ministerial Conference in Hong Kong in December 2005, the WTO reaffirmed its intention to take on the essential role in supporting the trade capacity of LDCs and low income countries by launching the Aid for Trade Initiative. As a result, donor contributions increased and an annual Global Review of Aid for Trade was created, and continues.
The progress of Aid for Trade towards its desired results is assessed by a joint WTO-OECD monitoring and evaluation framework. This framework annually publishes the Aid for Trade at a Glance report. Another report that focuses on LDCs concluded in 2011 that there had been "steady, if hard-won progress" in achieving Aid for Trade results. Cabo Verde was highighted as a success story, having graduated from LDC status in 2008, with notable assistance from EIF.
Trade mainstreaming means integrating trade into national development and poverty reduction strategies, and includes the incorporation of trade in sectoral strategies, action plans and budgets.
In order for trade mainstreaming to be successful, policies need to be translated into actions, strategies into resources, implementation and monitoring and evaluation into results on the ground. Once trade forms part of the wider development framework, complementary and coordinated sets of activities can be undertaken to promote economic growth and lock in sustainable development into the future.
A key component of EIF's work, together with partners, is to support LDCs to mainstream trade. Multiple country case studies have been completed that look at policy, institutions and international cooperation.
As of 2017, 37 LDCs have integrated trade into their National Development Plans, and 34 countries have at least three sector-specific strategies that integrate trade.
Trade and gender
Putting gender and the needs of poor communities at the heart of national development plans and trade integration is something to which the EIF is fully committed. The EIF has a clear mandate to help LDCs benefit from global trade through tackling bottlenecks to trade and promoting sustainable economic growth and development for countries to effectively trade their way out of poverty. Central to this is the need to address gender-specific constraints and increase trading opportunities for both women and men. More information on gender and Aid for Trade, notably the work of the International Trade Centre (ITC) in this area, can be found here.
Tackling gender-based constraints often amounts to creating a more gender‑neutral environment for the production and trade in goods and services. Typically, this pertains to areas such as employment, legal structures, customs or individual household situations. The EIF offers solutions to improve women's family situations, to diminish the supply-side constraints that particularly affect them and improve their access to markets. Many industries and businesses - especially SMEs - are mainly comprised of women, and it is therefore crucial that they are granted conditions similar to the ones enjoyed by men. In order to do so, DTISs regularly report on gender issues, and the DTIS Action Matrices include potential solutions to these issues. In 2008, an expert roundtable jointly organized by the ITC, the WTO, the Government of Zambia and the Government of Lao PDR discussed gender and trade questions and produced an informative Reference Guide.
Building on this, ITC in partnership with the ES have developed a module on gender mainstreaming. This module was piloted in Rwanda in November 2011 with training given to build capacity of EIF National Implementation Units (NIUs) and other national stakeholders participating in EIF National Implementation Arrangements (NIAs) to incorporate gender as a cross-cutting issue in EIF projects. See the Training Programme and the Training Manual.
In Rwanda, gender is now considered a key tool for development in the National Trade Policy. Priority is also given to gender as a cross‑cutting issue in National Development Strategies, i.e., the Vision 2020, the Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy (EDPRS), the National Decentralization Policy and the National Gender Policy to: (1) promote gender equality and empower women to initiate economic activities and participate in trade; and (2) establish mechanism to remove all barriers that constrain women's access to, and control over, productive resources.
Sustainable Development Goals
As a unique global partnership between Least Developed Countries, donors and international agencies, the EIF inscribes itself the spirit of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
International Trade is a key means in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, cutting across almost all goals, with key links to areas such as employment generation, women's empowerment, food security and alleviation of inequality, both within and among nations. Trade is directly related to 11 targets under 9 of the SDGs, and is indirectly related to an additional 32 targets under 14 of the SDGs.
The LDCs are specifically highlighted throughout the SDGs, and the EIF specifically mentioned in Target 8.A. of the SDGs, aiming 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".
Under Goal 17, Target 17.11 mirrors the Istanbul Programme of Action for the Least Developed Countries for the Decade 2011-2020 in looking to “Significantly increase the exports of developing countries, in particular with a view to doubling the least developed countries’ share of global exports by 2020.
The EIF works to promote a trade agenda conducive to sustainable pro-poor growth and promotes an effective and coherent national policy and institutional framework, critical to underpin LDCs' progress towards the SDGs achievement. The EIF also targets a wide array of SDGs with a strong focus on SDG 5 on Gender Equality, as well as on building productive capacity, with linkages to goals around industrialization, value chains, inclusive and sustainable growth, combating climate change as well as technology and trade.
In the SDGs, leaders identified trade as an engine for growth and combating poverty. The EIF’s work to support the LDCs in unlocking the power of trade in line with their own development strategies ensures that this vision rings true in the world’s poorest countries.
The LDCs are the frontline in the battle against world hunger. Natural disasters, conflicts and the impacts of climate change will increasingly mean that for the LDCs, effective trade is central to food security. The EIF’s work in assisting the LDCs to diversify their production and reduce trade costs will be an important contribution to this effort.
The EIF believes that in order to be inclusive and effective, trade-driven development needs to be gender-equitable. By empowering women entrepreneurs and supporting them in becoming export champions, the EIF strengthens communities and builds the foundations for equitable, inclusive and sustainable growth.
Research shows that businesses that export thrive, grow and expand at far higher rates. By assisting the LDCs to break into new export markets through targeted aid for trade support, the EIF is empowering the next generation of entrepreneurs and small- and medium-sized enterprises to create well-paying, fulfilling jobs and drive economic growth.
The EIF works with the LDC governments to achieve their priorities around diversification, industrialization and movement up global and regional value chains. The EIF helps the LDCs to identify key infrastructure and policy bottlenecks, prioritize among them and then leverage the finance to address them.
Sustainability is embedded into the core of every EIF project, and that includes environmental and social responsibility. Even as the EIF works to assist the LDCs to enter the export markets of tomorrow, the partnership also provides the expertise to ensure that export growth does not occur at the expense of our planet.
As an equal trilateral partnership between the LDCs, EIF Donors and EIF International Agencies, few organizations embody the spirit of SDG 17 more than the EIF. Everything that the EIF does, including the contribution it makes to doubling the share of LDCs exports by 2020, is premised on bringing all stakeholders to the table, coordinating their efforts and aligning their work toward a common goal.
Trade and environment
Securing equitable, inclusive and sustainable economic growth and development in the LDCs requires building their resilience to withstand crises and emerging challenges linked to the impact of climate change. Through the Diagnostic Trade Integration Studies, many LDCs have now acknowledged the need to integrate environmental considerations into their economic policies and poverty alleviation programmes. As a consequence, EIF projects increasingly include an environmental component.
In Mali the EIF is supporting a forestry gum arabic project that entails planting acacia trees on 10,000 hectares of land in six regions (some of the most vulnerable provinces in Mali) with a focus on reducing poverty and addressing environmental degradation and sustainable land management.
The project takes on issues of sustainable ecological development, such as the need to preserve the arid regions of the country through reforestation with the aim to prevent the loss of plant species in the Sahelian zone and fight against desert encroachment and climate change while maintaining the balance of the eco system. The Mali gum arabic project is part of the regional efforts in the "Great Green Wall of Africa" initiative aimed at halting the advancing Sahara desert and entails initiatives aimed at fostering local communities' ownership over natural resources and sensitizing nomadic pastoralists to desist from excessive cutting of acacia trees for feeding of their livestock.
In Vanuatu the Tourism Infrastructure Project aims to contribute towards Vanuatu's reconstruction, after the devastation caused by Tropical Cyclone Pam in March 2015. The project helps Vanuatu to rebuild its vital tourism infrastructure and in particular support the regeneration of the tourism portside and seafront precincts in Port Vila. The project also ensures an integrated approach to environmental management, with an improvement in resilience to natural disasters and climate change. As an example, the building of a rock revetment along the bay will help protect the coastline from further erosion, other cyclones and sea level rise.