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

Nairobi, 14 December 2015

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 will begin on 1 January 2016.

 At the Conference, representatives of Australia, Denmark, Estonia, the European Union, Finland, France, Germany, Korea, Luxembourg, Norway, Saudi Arabia, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom reaffirmed their strong support for this Aid-for-Trade programme. The Netherlands pledged EUR 400,000 and joined the EIF as a new donor. A number of donors which confirmed their pledges also announced that further contributions would be made during the course of Phase Two of the EIF.

 The  Conference was co-chaired by Australia's Minister for Trade and Investment, Andrew Robb, and  Norway's State Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs,  Morten Høglund. 

 In his opening speech, Director-General Roberto Azevêdo said: " There is no doubt – the EIF has delivered for the LDCs. The importance of the EIF in promoting inclusive and sustainable economic growth has been recognized by the global development community. Research shows that every dollar invested in Aid for Trade – of which the EIF is part – results in about 20 dollars of exports for LDCs. This is very significant. It shows the value of these initiatives, especially for the poorest countries." 

 Kenya's Cabinet Secretary for Foreign Affairs and International Trade and Chair of the WTO's Tenth Ministerial Conference, Amina Mohamed, said: "Out of the 51 EIF countries, 35 are in Africa. Building up African LDCs is in the interest of all of Africa. All five of Kenya's neighbouring countries are LDCs and they all benefit from the support of the EIF. Kenya benefits from having neighbours with stronger economies and reduced poverty. In Phase Two of the EIF, the stronger focus on regional aspects of trade will offer a great opportunity for countries like Kenya to contribute to stronger regional trade ties with its LDC neighbours." 

Bangladesh's Minister for Commerce and LDC Group Coordinator, Tofail Ahmed, said: "We believe that, through its unique approach, the EIF can help us to enhance our trading capacity. The EIF helps the international community to coordinate their assistance, thus avoiding duplication and helping us to meet our trade-related needs."

Ministers from Comoros, Lao PDR and Liberia shared their experience of the impact of the EIF in their countries.

Liberia's Minister of Commerce and Industry, Axel Addy, said: "The EIF is key to helping us deliver our post-accession agenda.  As a global framework, the EIF forges a common understanding among core trade donors and our partner agencies. 

 Through its projects, the EIF is a guarantee of financial support for a post-conflict LDC like Liberia."

Sierra Leone's Ambassador and Chair of the EIF Board, Yvette Stevens, said: "The EIF has made significant strides in transforming and sustaining strong livelihoods. The EIF Trust Fund supports institutional capacity building, innovation and building positive outcomes through empowerment, attracting investment needed to usher in greater trade for the poorest countries. The new programme is more effective and efficient  and, with concerted backing, it will be well positioned to transform the lives of many poor communities in LDCs."

 Announcing the total amount of the pledges, Minister Robb said: "This is a very solid basis for Phase Two but further donations will be required to cover its entire 7-year duration . I was pleased to hear that many donors, such as Australia, with shorter budget calendars have already  committed to further contributions in the future."

EIF Executive Director, Ratnakar Adhikari, said: "We are encouraged by the result of the Pledging Conference and we thank all our donors for their renewed commitment and support: the amount pledged today will allow Phase Two of the EIF to start in two weeks and enable the EIF to continue delivering support to the 51 poorest countries of the world to fight poverty and achieve their development aspirations through trade."