WTO Director-General Roberto Azevêdo said:
“The EIF is a very important initiative which has delivered real and concrete support to the LDCs over recent years, helping them to use trade as a tool for growth, sustainable development and poverty reduction. I am therefore delighted to launch the new phase of the EIF — and to welcome this fantastic donation from Norway, which has again demonstrated its strong support for the EIF's important work.”
Morten Høglund, Norway's Minister of Foreign Affairs, said: “Development cannot happen without trade. We need to step up our efforts to help LDCs.”
DG Azevêdo said: “We are proud to support the EIF. In just five years it has reached out to over 50 beneficiary countries around the world; it has supported over 40 analytical studies to help LDCs identify and address their main constraints to trade, and it has supported 95 projects to build trade policy capacity. There is no doubt that the EIF has delivered. The EIF's new phase incorporates some key reform measures to ensure that it will be even more results-driven, and represent real value for money.”
Mr. Høglund encouraged other countries to follow Norway's lead in making a contribution to Phase Two of the EIF. They will have an opportunity to do so at the Pledging Conference to be hosted by DG Azevêdo at the outset of the WTO's 10th Ministerial Conference in Nairobi at the end of the year. DG Azevêdo said: “It will be a crucial moment and so I hope that all the goodwill and commitment which we have seen to date will be translated into real support.”
The EIF supports the least-developed countries in using trade as a tool for economic growth and poverty reduction through job and income opportunities. It is the only global Aid-for-Trade programme with an exclusive focus on LDCs. The EIF's three core values are country ownership, a partnership approach, and results for sustainable impact. The EIF recently underwent a comprehensive independent evaluation of its first phase (2009-15). The findings confirmed the EIF's continued relevance to LDCs' trade and development priorities, indicated that results are showing good signs of sustainability, and highlighted areas to further strengthen efficiency and effectiveness. Phase One of the EIF had 51 beneficiaries in five years, and a total of US$ 202 million was received from 23 donors.