WTO’s Aid for Trade programme putting a spotlight on LDCs
Aid for Trade means building the capacities of developing countries to trade. At the 6th WTO Ministerial Conference in 2006, Ministers agreed that, "Aid for Trade should aim to help developing countries, particularly LDCs, to build the supply-side capacity and trade-related infrastructure that they need to assist them to implement and benefit from WTO Agreements and more broadly to expand their trade."
The WTO Aid for Trade Initiative was established to operationalize Aid for Trade. Activities are carried out through a Work Programme that is developed every two years, and LDCs have been a special focus of the Initiative since its launch.
The process of developing the 2018-2019 Aid for Trade Work Programme generated a vibrant debate. The result is an Aid for Trade agenda that emphasizes economic diversification and economic empowerment objectives for youth, women and micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs).
By 2020, approximately 1.1 billion youth are expected to enter the workforce. Unemployment is a continuing challenge, and action is required to ensure that developing countries are well equipped to generate employment amid a changing global economy and with the growing influence of digital technology.
The Work Programme seeks to analyse how industrialization, structural transformation and economic diversification can help developing countries, and particularly LDCs benefit from the changing trade landscape, with the ultimate objective of eliminating extreme poverty. Key activities include thematic workshops and events, the Aid for Trade monitoring and evaluation exercise and the 2019 Aid for Trade Global Review. There was also a call to review what the Aid for Trade Initiative has achieved since its launch in 2006.