18 June 2013
History has shown that openness to trade is a key ingredient for economic success and for improved living standards. But simply opening the economy to international trade is not enough. Developing countries - especially the least developed - require help in building their trade-related capacities in terms of information, policies, procedures, institutions and infrastructure, so as to compete effectively in the global eceonomy. Aid for Trade aims to help countries overcome the supply-side constraints that inhibit their ability to benefit from market access opportunities.
The almost 300 case stories submitted to the 2011 3rd Global Review of Aid for Trade show clear results of how aid-for-trade programmes are helping developing countries to build human, institutional and infrastructure capacity to integrate into regional and global markets and to make good use of trade opportunities. Together these stories are a rich and varied source of information on the results of aid for trade activities - an indication of the progress achieved by the Aid-for-Trade Initiative.
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Chapter 1. Diversity of aid for trade efforts
In July 2010, the OECD and WTO sent out a call for case stories on aid for trade programs and projects. The goal was to collect information on the policies, processes, practices and processes of aid for trade programmes. This overview chapter provides snapshots of the structure of the response to the call that amounted to 269 case stories. The case stories cover more than 150 countries – ranging from the smallest states, such as Lesotho, Solomon Islands and Comoros, to the largest, such as China and India – and all major developing regions and income categories. The sheer quantity of activities described in these stories suggests that aid for-trade efforts are substantial, that they have taken root across a wide spectrum of countries, and that they are becoming central to development.
Chapter 2. Lowering trade costs
Reducing trade costs is essential to promote trade. Aid for trade facilitation programs aim to reduce trade costs for developing countries by building efficient soft and hard trade-related infrastructure. Soft infrastructure refers to the intangible regulatory framework, while hard infrastructure refers to tangible infrastructure like roads and ports. Of the sixty-two case stories covered in this chapter, 42 programmes developed new processes to increase regulatory efficiency, seventeen implemented new policies and sixteen case stories reported successful improvement in transport infrastructure.
Chapter 3. Building public sector capacities
Strengthening the capacities of the public sector in developing countries helps to promote their participation and integration into the increasingly complex international and regional trading systems. The 108 case stories in this chapter include programmes that assist countries to adjust to trade liberalisation and trade reform; technical assistance programmes to mainstream trade in development strategies; and training programmes for government officials in trade policy.
Chapter 4. Building private sector capacities
Having a dynamic private sector is key for sustainable economic growth, and SMEs are the backbone of the private sector in developing countries. This chapter includes those case stories that illustrate how aid for trade can help strengthen the private sector in two ways: first, by improving the business environment and providing tangible support to SMEs such as trade finance and second, by building human and productive capacities within specific industries.
Chapter 5. Conclusions
A careful analysis of the aid for trade case stories submitted for this project gives rise to some conclusions about what is working – and what is working less well.
Aid for Trade at a Glance 2011: Showing Results
Aid for Trade at a Glance: Connecting to Value Chains