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    Exploring New Trade Partnerships for LDCs


    © International Trade Centre, International Trade Forum - Issue 1/2003

    New opportunities for least developed countries (LDCs) have little to do with the past, thanks, in part, to globalization and new information technologies. Few are aware of the promising grass-roots stories of LDC exporters. A new generation of innovative, energetic and persevering entrepreneurs is emerging. ITC, with its track record in LDC trade development, is open to new partnerships to help LDCs reach their export potential.

    This, in essence, was the message of J. Denis Bélisle, ITC's Executive Director, at the inaugural session of the Open Forum for Partnerships at the United Nations headquarters in February. He spoke on the subject "Making Globalization Work for Developing Countries: The Power of Trade in Development", at the invitation of Anwarul K. Chowdhury, UN High Representative of the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries (LLDCs) and Small Island Developing States (SIDS), who moderated the session. Ambassador Joel W. Adechi, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Benin to the United Nations, made opening remarks.

    The presentation provided ITC with an opportunity to sensitize LDC member state representatives in New York and UN headquarters staff, as well as representatives of NGOs and foundations, on the work undertaken by ITC in LDCs.

    ITC outlined how governments, business and international organizations are working together to improve the environment for many more LDC entrepreneurs to export. Mr. Bélisle presented ITC's trade development contributions to the Brussels Programme of Action for LDCs and to the Doha Development Agenda. ITC's perspective is based on nearly four decades of experience in working with the business communities of developing countries. Some 40% of ITC's annual delivery is targeted to LDCs.

    The Open Forum provides a platform for development organizations, particularly UN system entities outside New York, to share perspectives on development of LDCs, LLDCs and SIDS. It is organized by the UN Office of the High Representative of the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States.

    ITC supports trade development in LDCs

    ITC helps LDCs turn export opportunities into business by helping their SMEs enter the world trading system, by strengthening the national institutions supporting them, and by fostering competitiveness of firms, sectors and countries. In 2002, 40% of ITC's delivery was to LDCs; 40 LDCs were assisted; and ITC created an LDC Unit.

    ITC contributes to the Brussels Programme of Action (Third United Nations Conference for LDCs, 2001) in two specific areas:

    • Commitment 4: Build productive capacities to make globalization work for LDCs. ITC addresses supply capacity weaknesses, builds capacity of trade support institutions and promotes public-private partnerships.

    • Commitment 5: Enhance role of trade in development. ITC helps LDCs benefit from market access granted, promotes export diversification and assists in developing human capacities for trade development.

      Some inter-agency programmes and ITC initiatives have a strong LDC component, including:

      • The Integrated Framework for Trade-related Technical Assistance to LDCs (IMF, ITC, UNCTAD, UNDP, World Bank, WTO)
      • The Joint Integrated Technical Assistance Programme for Africa (ITC, UNCTAD, WTO)
      • The South-South Trade Programme (ITC)
      • Buying from Africa for Africa (ITC)
      • Export-led Poverty Reduction Programme (ITC)
      • World Tr@de Net Programme (ITC)
      • ITC Executive Forum (ITC, seco)
      • Trade Maps (ITC)

      See ITC's Trade Forum magazine issue 3/02 on LDCs (http://www.tradeforum.org); or Converting LDC Export Opportunities into Business, an ITC book.

      See http://www.un.org/ohrlls for more information about the Open Forum for Partnerships. For more information about ITC's work in LDCs, contact Francesco Geoffroy, Head, LDCs Unit, at geoffroy@intracen.org