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09 December 1998
WTO, UNCTAD and ITC launch joint francophone training programme

Officials, academics and representatives of business organizations from four African countries – Benin, Burkina Faso, C˘te d’Ivoire, and Tunisia - are taking part in a three-week, Geneva-based training course that will help them better manage their integration into the Multilateral Trading System (MTS). It began on Monday, 23 November, and runs through 11 December 1998.

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The course is organized jointly by the World Trade Organization (WTO), the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the International Trade Centre (ITC), as part of the Joint Integrated Technical Assistance Programme in Selected Least-Developed and Other African Countries (JITAP).

This francophone “training-of-trainers” course is the second in a series; a similar one was organized last year for English-speaking countries, namely Ghana, Kenya, the United Republic of Tanzania and Uganda. The course aims to build up national networks of trainers and experts on multilateral trading system matters in the participating countries. Participants are expected to identify training needs related to the multilateral trading system. By the end of the course, they should be able to train in turn other trainers in their countries, and to set up national information networks which would be interlinked.

The joint training approach adopted by WTO, UNCTAD and ITC for this course is designed to give a comprehensive overview to MTS issues. For each topic, WTO explains rules stemming from the Uruguay Round, UNCTAD addresses policy implications, and ITC examines business aspects and opportunities. Group discussions allow participants and experts to consider international trade issues in the context of the economic circumstances prevailing in their respective countries.

The participants are 26 senior officials from government, trade-related and private sector development institutions, as well as from business and law faculties. The location of the course rotates weekly between ITC, UNCTAD and WTO.

JITAP was announced jointly by the three multilateral Geneva-based organizations on the occasion of UNCTAD IX in May 1996 in Midrand, South Africa. It has initially focused on eight African countries, four of which are LDCs. A Common Trust Fund was created for JITAP in March 1998; it is administered by ITC. To date, thirteen donor countries have contributed to the Fund, for a total amount of US$ 7.8 million. Of this amountUS$6.9 million is allocated to Window II of the Fund, for earmarked country projects. The remainder is allocated to Window I, for unearmarked programme development and generic activities. The contributors are: Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.

For more information, please contact

At ITC: Abdelkrim Ben Fadhl, Senior Trade Promotion Adviser, Chief Technical Coordinator for JITAP, tel.: (41 22) 730 03 59, fax: (41 22) 730 05 70, e-mail: benfadhl@intracen.org

At UNCTAD: Marcel Namfua, Senior Trade Policy Adviser, Coordinator for the JITAP, tel.: (41 22) 917 58 73 fax: (41 22) 917 00 47 e-mail: marcel.namfua@unctad.org

At WTO: Jean-Marc Fortin, Counsellor, Coordinator for JITAP, tel.: (41 22) 739 52 07 fax: (41 22) 739 57 64; e-mail: jean-marc.fortin@wto.org