At the WTO from 13-14 June, the Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF) is convening its first Global Forum on Inclusive Trade for Least Developed Countries (LDCs), with representatives from more than 40 of the 51 LDCs and recent graduates coming together to act on trade.
Free trade in Africa, the agriculture and trade combination, and trade strategies for women are just a few of the topics to be discussed at an upcoming event at the WTO.
Considering the growing trade gap between developed nations and the world's poorest countries, 2018 is a turning point for LDCs and trade, and the time is now to generate momentum to further integrate LDCs into an inclusive trading world.
"Many LDCs have great potential to increase trade. But potential means nothing unless you can transform it into action," says Ambassador to the Permanent Mission of Sweden to the WTO and EIF Steering Committee Chair Daniel Blockert, who will be part of the event's Closing Ceremony.
The Global Forum on Inclusive Trade for LDCs will bring together leaders from governments, international organizations, the private sector, NGOs and more to foster trade action in LDCs. Reflecting on the progress of trade development in LDCs over the last decade, the event will foster deeper collaborations, strong commitments and proposals for the future.
Featured speakers will include Vice President of The Gambia Fatoumata Jallow-Tambajang, Her Royal Highness Princess of Burkina Faso Abze Djigma and Secretary General of the Commonwealth Secretariat Patricia Scotland. Discussions will center on three themes: "Inclusive trade and economic growth", "Multilateral and regional trading systems", and "Global agricultural value chains."
Inclusivity is key in building resilient trade, for women, for small businesses and for youth in countries so they are not left behind, so to speak. And the way that inclusivity is nurtured along with trade prospects will be a key element of the discussions.
For EIF Executive Director Ratnakar Adhikari, "To best foster inclusive trade in LDCs, technology needs to be made accessible, affordable and utilizable for all. Increasing the use of tech in LDCs would increase competitiveness in the global market, speed the move up the value chain, and help countries create decent jobs for women and youth."
Many of the day's dialogues will focus on how to include women, who may be part of informal economies and or out of the workforce entirely.
"Including women is not just the nice thing to do, it is the smart thing to do. Empowered women rise an economy. Empowered young women rise a country," says Ariane Moza, Girl Ambassador for Peace from the Global Network of Women Peacebuilders and a speaker at the Forum.
With Moza, who hails from the Democratic Republic of Congo, and a diverse range of speakers and panellists, a knowledge-sharing pavilion in the WTO Atrium featuring partner presentations, a photo exhibition of LDC trade work on the ground, and an innovative panel of female entrepreneurs pitching investment opportunities backed by concrete results, the Forum will be the key and only place to talk LDCs and trade.