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  • ISSUE 1/2009


  • Investing in young women is at the heart of any country's long-term development and prosperity, according to leading voices that emerged at the World Economic Forum in Davos in January.

    Africa and the Financial Crisis: An Agenda for Action' was the theme of the 44th Annual Meeting of the African Development Bank (AfDB) Group, held in Dakar, Senegal from 13-14 May. The Meeting, which also marked the Board of Governors Meeting of the African Development Fund, brought together more than 2000 participants from Africa and around the world.

    The financial crisis has hit all elements of the global supply chains. National Development Banks and EXIM Banks need to step up to fill the gaps that have emerged so that trade and economic activity can continue.

    The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the World Trade Organization met in Montego Bay, Jamaica, in May for the Second Regional Aid for Trade Review for Latin America and the Caribbean. The Review followed up on progress made in implementing Aid for Trade since the First Review in Lima, Peru in September 2007.

    As recession deepens, global figures are starting to reveal the severity of the impact. Trade is contracting worldwide, and the recovery will depend on what policy-makers do next.

    Through its tourism initiative, a Brazilian bank is successfully continuing its commitment to corporate social responsibility. Financial crisis, it says, is no reason to turn away from sustainable development.

    The jobs crisis is severe and escalating, threatening increased poverty and prolonged social unrest around the world. But, with a coordinated response from policy-makers, it's within our means to avert it.

    International Trade Forum - Issue 1/2009 G20 roundup: Views from the summit The G20 Summit in April saw world leaders come together in the heat of the economic crisis, to thrash out the issues surrounding trade finance and come up with solutions. These solutions amounted to some US$1.1 trillion in global liqui

    The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development's (UNCTAD) first symposium on the impact of the world economic crisis emphasized that the global downturn requires a response that takes all countries and peoples into account.

    In Asia, the unemployment crisis poses disproportionate threat to women workers. Social equality and economic stability rely on policy-makers considering both genders in their response.

    In an area once threatened By conflicting struggles of conservation and livelihood, farmers in the indian Himalayas have learned to make the most of local potential.

    Leaders from Asia and the Pacific came together in Bali, Indonesia from 4-5 May for the 42nd Annual Meeting of the Asian Development Bank (ADB). Discussions surrounded issues of economic diversification, environmental sustainability, private sector participation in infrastructure and regional integration, as well as the economic crisis and the longer-term development challenges.

    At their November 2008 meeting in Washington, world leaders thought of this crisis as a landmine that the United States and European economies had stepped on; as these economies had planted it, other emerging nations seemed only indirectly concerned.

    As the developed world has descended into financial crisis, there has been a tidal wave of despair and panic in governments and financial institutions around the world. Conflicting data underscored the fact that no one really understands the extent of the consequences. Uncertainty from investors and consumers has led to a massive contraction in demand: a 60-year low in world trade; a fall-off in foreign direct investment; a drop in commodity prices; a contraction in remittances; and an absence of trade finance.Life has indeed changed for all of us. At ITC, it remains our mandate to help enterprises in developing countries, and those who support them through national and regional trade support institutions, to not only survive the current crisis, but to build for a better future.Developing countries face huge challenges, but they should also see opportunities. Countries and companies need to focus on a few priorities that can contribute to their competitiveness and prepare for the reopening of markets.

    By integrating social and environmental principles in their business models, tourism operators can lead the way in promoting positive development with enduring benefit for all.

    As the world's financial epicentres crash across various continents, what impact is this having on developing countries?

    Before the London Summit, world leaders had been wrangling over the size of domestic stimulaus programmes. But as the event unfolded, the G20 leaders shifted their focus towards stimulating the global economy.

    To achieve a 'return on investment', one must invest in that which will actually provide a return. As quoted by OECD, women reinvest 90% of their income in their families and communities, compared with 30%-40% invested by men. Investing in women is an investment in current and future generations. This is why we need a carefully crafted response to the global financial crisis, which threatens to plunge a further 22 million women into unemployment, according to a recent report by the International Labour Organization.

    The London Summit took place at a time of unprecedented economic challenge for world leaders and, fittingly, world leaders agreed on unprecedented action to face these challenges.

    History shows that open markets are crucial in times of crisis. Leaders need to step away from purely domestic concerns, and ensure they're not threatening the world's economy further by imposing dangerous protectionist measures.

    Finance is a crucial component of the world economy, underpinning some 80% to 90% of world trade. As a result, the tightening of trade finance market conditions, which has been steadily worsening since the beginning of 2008, is particularly concerning.

    ITC offers a wealth of online resources on trade development topics. Among new sites online: