Programme aims to help African countries participate more effectively in the multilateral
trading system and improve their export competitiveness. It reflects a strong commitment
by the three organizations to coordinate jointly their efforts and resources for the
development of African trade. Donor countries noted that a common trust fund would be a
resource-efficient approach to cooperation among international organizations, donor
governments and benefiting partner countries, and therefore strongly supported its
establishment. The new Fund is the first such mechanism established jointly among the
three Geneva-based multilateral organizations operating in the economic sphere.
The Common Trust Fund
should reach a total in the range of US$ 10 million to cover programme requirements for
the seven sub-Saharan partner countries and will consist of two windows. Window I is for
unearmarked contributions, which will be used to finance national needs assessments,
project development and advisory missions; activities for the collective benefit of
participating countries; and complementary or full financing of country projects. Window
II, for earmarked contributions, will be allocated to specific country projects. Managed
by ITC, the Fund will be guided by a Steering Group consisting of donors, beneficiary
countries and the secretariats of ITC, WTO and UNCTAD.
those Governments that have indicated an intention to contribute to the Common Trust Fund
are: Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden,
Switzerland and the United Kingdom.
Integrated Programme has initially focused on eight African countries, four of which are
least developed: Benin, Burkina Faso, the United Republic of Tanzania and Uganda. The
other four are the Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Kenya and Tunisia. The Integrated Programme was
developed following visits to Africa in January 1996 by Mr. Renato Ruggiero, Director
General of WTO, and Mr. Denis Bélisle, Executive Director of ITC, and was announced by
the three organizations involved on the occasion of UNCTAD IX in May 1996 in Midrand,
African LDCs involved, the Common Trust Fund should help implement the results of the
High-Level Meeting on Integrated Initiatives for LDCs' Trade Development held last October
under the auspices of WTO, with the active participation of UNCTAD, ITC, the United
Nations Development Programme, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. That
meeting discussed how to facilitate LDCs' full integration in the world economy and the
improvement and enhancement of coordinated actions by international organizations dealing
with trade-related technical cooperation.
LDCs, most of
which are situated in Africa, seek technical assistance in trade development and export
promotion, to develop a regulatory framework consistent with the multilateral trading
system and to improve their export capacity in order to benefit from this system.
African Integrated Programme's activities are the strengthening of national capacities to
address the trade implications of the WTO Agreements, a global electronic discussion forum
and a global case network allowing national networks of trade experts to share experience.
Surveys to determine the impact of WTO Agreements on national economies and external trade
patterns will be undertaken in each country covered by the Integrated Programme.
Integrated Programme also helps African countries to adapt their national legislation to
WTO rules, and formulate strategies that will allow them to benefit from new market access
conditions and make better use of the special and differential provisions for developing
countries and LDCs. Finally, it enables beneficiary countries to set up trade information
systems, formulate business development strategies and adapt business performance tools.
* * For more information contact:
Information and Media Relations Division
tel. (4122) 739 50 19, fax (4122) 739 54 58
Fund Joint Integrated Technical Assistance Programme in Selected Least-Developed and
Other African Countries
Fund Operates Back to top
The Fund is
effective as of 1 March 1998. It is guided by a Steering Group which includes donor
countries, recipient partner countries, and the secretariats of the cooperating
institutions. Potential donors and recipient partners may attend as observers.
Trust Fund has two windows. Window I is for unearmarked contributions, which will
be used to finance national needs assessments, project development and other advisory
missions; activities for the collective benefit of participating countries; and
complementary or full financing of country projects. Window II is for country
the Fund. As Fund Administrator, it provides the Steering Group with progress reports and
consolidated annual financial reports. It forwards annual performance results carried out
by those implementing the project. The Fund is subject to UN rules and regulations as well
as general conditions adopted by the Steering Committee.
Back to top
and ITC developed the programme to respond to a call by African trade ministers in Tunis
in October 1994 to help strengthen their capacity to participate in the new Multilateral
Trading System and exploit new export opportunities in globalizing world markets. These
basic needs were restated by African LDCs last October at a WTO-sponsored High Level
Meeting for LDC Trade Development. Six international organizations jointly organized the
meeting: WTO, UNCTAD, ITC, the World Bank, UNDP and the International Monetary Fund.
Programme Objectives, Activities Back to top
National capacity to understand and manage WTO Agreements
trade development networks will be set up and linked through national Reference Centres, a
Case Network to share best practices, and a Global Electronic
Discussion Forum to assist in problem solving.
Trainers in national institutions will be trained to provide information and advice on
implications of the WTO Agreements for national trade development. National institutions
are selected for their ability, in turn, to train and inform their own broad national
networks. Trainers from six institutions per country will be enrolled in an intensive
course in Geneva, sponsored by the three organizations. The course will be complemented by
Strengthen trade and export policy and negotiating capabilities
surveys on the impact of WTO Agreements on national economy and trade will be
carried out. Conclusions will be presented at a national meeting. Participants will
include policy makers, senior executives and technical officials from concerned
institutions, who will, in turn, be speakers at further dissemination seminars
country. This process will: - help national policy and regulatory frameworks
adapt to current
international trade rules; - take advantage of possibilities for transitional, special
treatment for LDCs and developed countries for improved market access
set out in the WTO Agreements; - develop business strategies - for firms,
sectors and the national economy - that take into account new policies and regulations as
well as special market access conditions.
institutional mechanisms to carry out the WTO Agreements
ministry focal points, inter-institutional committee. These will be set up to
implement and exploit Multilateral Trading System (MTS) rules, and serve as a national
coordination forum for public and private sectors. The Programme will provide training,
documentation and advice. It will include advice for relevant customs administration
Centres. Up to three Reference Centres will be established per country, at the
Ministry of Trade for public officials, at a business development institution for the
business community, and at a training institution for professors, students and
researchers. Centres will be based on an existing trade information library, and build a
dedicated documentation facility on MTS. Reference centres will also manage a network of
resource persons to help individuals understand MTS rules and respond to specific
questions. Resource persons will be selected from the national network of trainers.
issues. Standards Boards will become
enquiry points for quality requirements in foreign markets and technical trade barriers.
The programme will train staff and specialized trainers of the Standards Boards for these
associations, uentsbusiness development
institutions. By becoming part of the national network of trainers, business support
organizations will be better able to serve their constit.
trade laws and regulations. The programme will provide assistance to redraft
legislation no longer compatible with current rules, or initiate new legislation.
supply-side response to MTS opportunities
and sectoral analysis to define market niches. The Programme helps countries
by carrying out national market research analysis by sector. The analyses pinpoint product
sectors with the greatest comparative advantage potential, and give potential investors
and export firms the background to develop appropriate strategies and products.
access to export business services and performance tools
Trade Information networks. The Programme complements (and
is coordinated with) the Trade Efficiency Initiative, in which UNCTAD, supported by ITC,
set up Trade Points and link them to the Global Trade Network. Through the programme's
emphasis on networks, information systems and trained experts, it strengthens existing
Trade Points or will establish them if they do not already exist.
small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) to improve export capacity. The Programme will
help countries customize two practical ITC guides that improve export operations.
"Trade Secrets - The Export Answer Book" is a question-answer book about common
export-related concerns, including procedures, forms, contacts and references. "How
to Approach Banks" gives an overview of export finance possibilities and approaches,
with sample forms, contracts, contacts and references.
access to export finance. ITC will also carry out
technical studies to define or enhance export finance schemes if necessary. A survey will
review and analyse export finance instruments available, and make recommendations to
create or improve them.