Remarks by DG Azevêdo

Your Excellency Dr Isatou Touray, Vice President of the Gambia,
Ladies and gentlemen,

Good afternoon – and welcome.

It is a pleasure to open this event and to congratulate the EIF on 10 years of working to boost trade and improve lives in LDCs.

The Global Review is an ideal moment to bring together the EIF’s key constituents – ministers and other leaders from LDCs, along with donors and partners from international organizations.

All of us here today are united in the belief that trade can be a powerful force for good in least-developed countries. It helps to spur economic growth, create jobs and fuel development. And it is a key delivery mechanism to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. 

For trade to play this role, we need to maintain and strengthen the multilateral trading system, as embodied in the WTO. Least-developed countries need the platform of shared rules and norms that the system provides.

But they also need to be able to build the necessary capacity to make the most of it.

The Aid for Trade initiative is central to this effort. Since its launch in 2006, more than 108 billion dollars of Aid for Trade resources have been disbursed to the LDCs – that's around one third of all disbursements.

And of course delivery bodies like the EIF have an essential role to play.

In fact the EIF is the only multilateral partnership dedicated exclusively to assisting LDCs in their use of trade as an engine for growth, sustainable development and poverty reduction. 

It does vital work. And it has made real impact on the ground, which I've had the chance to see first-hand.

Fifty-one countries have benefitted from EIF support since the initiative was created.

In 2018 alone the EIF supported over 700 micro, small and medium-sized enterprises in LDCs around the world. This is a significant increase on previous years. The EIF helped these enterprises to improve production and create jobs producing a range of goods – from textiles to spices, mangoes, honey and many other areas.

The impact can be quite significant.

Look at the EIF project in Nepal which supports farmers growing medicinal and aromatic plants, while also promoting their sustainable commercial cultivation, and connecting them with foreign markets. This project has helped to deliver an increase in farmers' income of 82%.

The EIF’s interventions in Niger are another good example. The EIF's work there has helped to boost collective exports of hides and skin to China, France, India and Spain – more than doubling in value from USD 500,000 in 2010 to USD 1.3 million in 2018.

There are many more stories like these.

So I would like to thank everyone who supports the EIF in many ways, especially the Trust Fund Donors.

I would like to call on all EIF partners to remain engaged and help take this initiative from strength to strength. And, with this in mind, I am very pleased to be able to announce significant new support for the EIF.

Six donors plan to commit around USD 13 million of new funding to the EIF Trust Fund today.

I want to thank Australia, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Japan and Sweden for their generosity in bringing forward these planned commitments.

This is a significant show of support for this work. We need to keep up this momentum. It can really make a difference.

I think we need more Aid for Trade. We need more EIF. And we need to keep demanding more results.

So I want to take this opportunity to underscore, once again, the WTO's support for the EIF and our commitment to working collectively, with you all, in the interests of the LDCs.

Working together, we can ensure that more LDCs benefit from global trade, and that the global trading system is truly working for the common good. 

Thank you all.




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