The EIF partnership approach is delivering for the LDCs

Antalya, 29 May 2016


Today, key international trade and development agencies joined hands to showcase how they had utilized strategic partnerships in supporting the Istanbul Programme of Action (IPoA) for the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) through the EIF. The side event held on the sidelines of the Mid-term Review of the IPoA for the LDCs was organized by EIF Partner Agencies including ITC, UNCTAD, UNDP, UNIDO, UNWTO, the World Bank and the WTO.


The lively event showcased the positive role of the EIF as a global framework for partnership and coordination of trade-related technical assistance in the LDCs through the contribution and articulation of Partner Agencies’ interventions within the EIF programme and with donor support. The EIF partnership brings together 48 LDCs and three graduated countries, 24 bilateral donors and 8 international Partner Agencies including ITC, the IMF, UNCTAD, UNDP, UNIDO, UNWTO, the World Bank and the WTO.


"Partnerships is a key principle underpinning implementation of the IPoA objectives for the LDCs. The purpose of this side event is to illustrate the unique partnership approach of the EIF – which is the only global programme dedicated to addressing the trade-related needs of all 48 LDCs and the three graduated countries, in a way which enables them to use trade as a vehicle for inclusive economic growth, development and poverty alleviation," the EIF Board Chair and Ambassador of Sierra Leone, H.E. Ms Yvette Stevens, said while opening the session, emphasizing that the EIF was specifically referred to in the IPoA and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a mechanism for development partners to support trade-related capacity development in the LDCs.


LDC and EIF Donor perspectives on how the partnership was working on the ground and its value‑add were presented. This was complemented by EIF Partner Agency presentations on practical examples of working together within the EIF framework and complementing and combining efforts and expertise from each Agency to promote sustained growth in the LDCs.  


H.E. Mr Axel M. Addy, Minister of Commerce and Industry, Liberia, kick-starting a dynamic panel with wide expertise, presented insights on the way Liberia had been able to fully utilize the EIF partnership to help the country build capacity to implement and coordinate policies and achieve WTO membership and move towards its integration into the global economy. Minister Addy also requested partners to support the EIF in addressing cross‑border trade issues, which was essential in enhancing regional trade.


H.E. Mr Eloi Laourou, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Benin to the UN in Geneva, stressed the role of the EIF and partnerships for sustainable development, calling on all partners to work collectively in implementing the SDGs in the LDCs. Ambassador Laourou also called on the continued mobilization of resources and partners to help build the LDCs' productive capacity, providing an example on the ongoing EIF work with ITC, UNCTAD and UNIDO in supporting the productive and trade capacities of Benin.


Ms Daniela Zehentner-Capell, Head of Division, Trade Related Development Cooperation, Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) from Germany, highlighted that the EIF was the only global programme dedicated to addressing the trade needs of the LDCs. She said that its value-add was the diagnostic work, which identified the biggest binding constraints to trade – enabling development partners to provide support to those areas that would have the largest impact. She also said that by serving as a framework, the EIF enabled development partners to coordinate their support to the LDCs.  


Mr Bernardo Calzadilla, EIF Board Member and Director of the Department of Trade, Investment and Innovation of UNIDO, underlined how UNIDO had used the EIF process to guide its trade capacity development support for the LDCs and linkages to the broader agenda of implementing trade‑related technical assistance activities and national financial resources.


Ms Dorothy Tembo, Deputy Executive Director of ITC, pledged ITC's commitment to be strong advocates of the EIF. She highlighted how ITC had used the EIF as its starting point for guiding ITC's work in the LDCs, by referring to the diagnostic work and helping the countries to articulate the details of their identified priorities. She stressed the EIF approach on national ownership and how partner agency collaboration and coordination at the country level was critical for the EIF to deliver on its catalytic trade and development role in the LDCs, including private sector development.


Mr Taufiqur Rahman, Head, LDC Unit, Development Division at the WTO, presented the value of the EIF as a partnership for transformation. He underlined the complementarities between the EIF diagnostic work, where the WTO provided inputs, and the WTO's Trade Policy Review work. He also referred to the role of the EIF in helping the LDCs to implement WTO agreements and integrate into the global trading system.


Mr Marcos Neto, Director, Istanbul International Center for Private Sector in Development at UNDP, brought attention to how the EIF provided an important framework for trade policy coherence and coordination linked to broader development goals. He highlighted the value of country ownership and institutional strengthening. He shared the example of how UNDP had been able to work through the EIF framework to leverage additional resources in Tanzania for trade capacity building. He also highlighted the cooperation achieved through the EIF between ITC, UNCTAD and UNDP in the development of priority products, such as vanilla in Comoros.   


Mr Patrick Osakwe, Head, Trade and Poverty Branch, Division for Africa, LDCs and Special Programmes at UNCTAD, underlined the importance of the EIF's diagnostic work and UNCTAD's expertise. He referred to the example of Ethiopia, were UNCTAD had led the DTIS work, working closely with Agencies such as UNIDO in areas beyond trade policy, such as agriculture, finance and productive capacity.    


Ms Zoritsa Urosevic, Representative in Geneva of UNWTO, highlighted the importance of tourism in the LDCs, noting that 44 out of the 48 LDCs had indicated tourism as a priority sector for economic development in the DTIS analytical studies.


Concluding the vibrant event, Ambassador Stevens noted, "Today has shown the value of development partners coming together where they are working to achieve the same things, with each bringing specific elements of expertise and resources, which can complement each other." She added that "In the particular case of the EIF, we saw that a common coordination and delivery‑based approach can help to make an impact in a way which also promotes efficiency from the perspective of all partners."


Notes to the editors: 


The EIF is a multi-donor trust fund, which provides financial and technical support to build trade capacity in all 48 LDCs and three graduated countries. The EIF programme administratively housed within the WTO is the only global Aid for Trade programme exclusively designed for the LDCs and is, therefore, uniquely placed to assist countries to develop sustainable trade strategies, which have a positive impact on people's lives through the promotion of private sector development and job and income opportunities. 


The Mid-term Review of the IPoA for the LDCs is a comprehensive review of the implementation of the IPoA by the LDCs and their development partners. The Conference also reaffirms the global commitment to addressing the special needs of the LDCs. In Paragraph C. 3(e) of the IPoA, development partners are called upon to implement effective trade-related technical assistance and capacity building in the LDCs and support for the EIF.



For further information on IPoA, please contact: and on the EIF: and; ITC -; UNCTAD -; UNDP -; UNIDO -; UNWTO -; WTO -; and World Bank -


Background information: Implementing the IPoA: The role of the EIF