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Ethiopia hosts workshop to help the region’s poorest countries

The Federal Republic of Ethiopia is hosting a four-day workshop from 31 January to 3 February 2017 to enable the poorest countries in the Anglophone region of Africa plus Yemen to enhance national delivery of inclusive and sustainable trade development through the Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF). The Regional Workshop is organized by the Executive Secretariat for the EIF and the Ministry of Trade of Ethiopia in collaboration with the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

The Addis Ababa event will help countries to get acquainted with the changes in Phase Two of the EIF and enhance their capacity to implement the Programme including showing results and ensuring long‑term sustainability of the programme. The event brings together 14 EIF countries: Ethiopia, The Gambia, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Yemen and Zambia. The international community is also backing the event with teams from the Common Wealth Secretariat, ECA, UNCTAD, UNOPS, World Bank, and Donor Facilitators including the European Union, UNDP and USAID covering Ethiopia, Malawi, Mozambique, South Sudan and Tanzania, as well as regional programmes like the African Organisation for Standardisation.

The workshop forms part of a wider capacity-building programme being run by the EIF, rolled out last year in the Pacific and Asia focusing on the EIF Phase Two priorities of delivering results more effectively and efficiently while ensuring value for money. The EIF programme aims to provide Least Developed Countries (LDCs) with the tools needed to become more active players in global trade. As such, the workshop is supporting the Anglophone African Countries and Yemen in their drive to promote sustainable trade and improve much-needed access to markets and boost exports that will benefit poor people the most.

H. E. Dr Bekele Bulado, Minister for Trade of Ethiopia remarked that, "Ethiopia attaches high importance to trade as an engine of growth and development, and we believe that trade will support the country's efforts to reduce and eradicate poverty. We have been trying to benefit from the opportunities evolving in the multilateral trading system with a view to improving our socio-economic development." H.E. Dr Bulado said, highlighting the analytical work already undertaken through the Diagnostic Trade Integration Study (DTIS): "The DTIS Update of Ethiopia has identified various constraints which have hindered the smooth growth of the trade sector to generate the foreign currency required for sustainable development," further emphasizing Ethiopia's vision to become a middle income country by 2025. "By achieving this target, Ethiopia wants to graduate from the LDC status and achieve a better socio‑economic standard."

On behalf of the Executive Director of the Executive Secretariat for the EIF, Mr James Edwin noted that “The EIF is moving from a successful implementation of a Phase One to a Phase Two. Most recently, the Sustainable Development Agenda underlined the importance of the EIF particularly in SDG 8(a) by calling on the international community to increase Aid for Trade support to LDCs through the EIF." He underscored the importance of all partners' commitment to support the international mandate. He also emphasized the programme Phase Two discussions including regional integration, global and regional value chains, trade facilitation, e-commerce, services trade, private sector engagement and integrating gender, poverty and environmental issues into the DTIS and all upcoming related projects.

The outcome of this workshop will contribute to the successful implementation of the EIF Phase Two at the country level. This will also help in consolidating and communicating results, ensuring quality and value for money, securing sustainability of the results achieved and of the institutional platform for coordination and resource-leveraging.

Ms Joy Kategekwa, Head of the Regional Office for Africa, UNCTAD, stated that the, "EIF is unmatched in its potential, supporting trade as a propeller for LDCs' national development. The EIF is keeping the trade capacity‑building agenda alive in LDCs with key implementation ongoing for national priorities important in supporting poverty reduction and sustainable development. UNCTAD is proud to be a core partner supporting DTIS analytical work like in Ethiopia and Strategies like in The Gambia."

Speaking on behalf of the African Trade Policy Centre in ECA, Ms Heini Suominen provided the status on the African countries' trade and the impact of deepened regional integration as a key issue in the EIF Phase Two. She said, "The share of intra-African trade is low compared to other regions, and we have failed to effectively act as a shared force in the global arena. The Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) under negotiation can act as a vehicle for change in this respect" Ms Suominen said, adding that, "The CFTA and our wider shared trade agenda and development aspirations cannot be truly transformational if they do not bring benefit to all Africans. Too often we concentrate on the total gains that can be achieved through trade policy and we fail to recognize the differentiated impacts of trade liberalization."

The last of the series in the EIF Regional Workshops will take place from 7 to 10 February 2017 in Dakar, Senegal for the Francophone and Lusophone African LDCs to ensure that all EIF Countries are now acquainted with the EIF Phase Two issues and the new way of doing business. This is underpinned by a new Programme Framework including a Change Management Plan, a new logframe and a Risk Mitigation Matrix complemented by the EIF Medium‑Term Strategic Plan (2016 – 2018) to ensure programme impact, leveraging and sustainability.  

Notes to editors:

The EIF is a multi-donor trust fund, which provides coordinated financial and technical support to build trade capacity in all 48 LDCs and three graduated countries. The EIF programme administratively housed within the WTO is the only global Aid for Trade programme exclusively designed for the LDCs and is, therefore, uniquely placed to assist countries to develop sustainable trade strategies, which have a positive impact on people's lives through the promotion of private sector development and job and income opportunities.