By 2022, EIF aims for 48 countries with trade integrated into development plans; 700 micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) assisted to integrate into global trade; and 78 new technologies developed to enhance the value of a country’s exports, among others – all implemented through an extensive global network of partners both large and small.
“EIF has been on a remarkable journey over the past decade. We have built the country ownership that is essential for LDCs to achieve sustained trade development. We must redouble our efforts to make LDCs more competitive,” said EIF Executive Director Ratnakar Adhikari.
The redoubling of efforts includes maximizing the work EIF does best – meaning forging close working relationships with LDC governments; creating unique mechanisms for coordination across sectors, partners and ministries; and serving as a catalyst for in-country investments in trade. And, with EIF’s new plan, the partnership’s work (explicitly mentioned in Sustainable Development Goal 8) is closely aligned with the 17 Global Goals, and it is clearly delineated how EIF is contributing to their achievement.
With an unstable global economy and high trade costs creating uncertainties across the world, EIF will focus work on fragile countries and providing the adaptability needed as well as increasing engagement and support for MSMEs and women.
Drawing from past ecommerce research in a handful of countries, new targets will involve supporting the use and uptake of technology in LDCs that draws from evidence-based trade studies.
“The EIF does vital work and is making a real impact on the ground. But of course there is still a huge amount of work to be done. We are grateful for the EIF partners’ strong commitment to our ongoing efforts to take this work forward, as encapsulated in the new Strategic Plan. Together we can ensure that the EIF continues to deliver for the LDCs,” said WTO Director-General Roberto Azevêdo.
For the people and institutions EIF has worked with on the ground, cooperative efforts translate into real impacts.
Guesthouse owner Alistair Pae from outside Honiara in the Solomon Islands was able to construct a three-bungalow beachfront spread and is hosting six guests on average per week – and that is creating new income opportunities for himself and his neighbours.
Simire Cibolonza does business in Goma on the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s border with Rwanda. With improvements in government policy related to cross-border trade, her business with Rwandese counterparts is much enhanced – and opportunities for trade across borders accelerated.
And in Laos, a trust fund of over US$39 million is helping to finance trade priorities identified in the country’s Diagnostic Trade Integration Study. The alignment of government, donors and the private sector has improved the regulatory environment and supported more than 200 local companies – and will continue to be a major vehicle for doing so.
Following EIF’s new plan with an eye to 2022, Pae, Cibolonza and numerous Laotian businesses can continue to see improvements in the trade landscapes they call their own, whether a quiet beach in the Pacific, a bustling border town on the shores of Lake Kivu or an enterprise in lush Luang Prabang.