Initiatives to help developing countries open up their economies and engage in international trade are becoming increasingly important to international development efforts. Not the least because these initiatives are proving effective in helping lift developing countries out of poverty, according to a senior official of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
Aid-for-trade initiatives over the past few years have produced better transportation infrastructure in Africa and Central America, among other regions, and has help recipient governments identify and defend their interest in global trade negotiations, Frans Lammersen of OECD’ Development Cooperation Directorate says in a blog post.
Citing a recent joint publication of OECD and the World Trade Organization, Lammersen adds approximately $100 billion spent by donors on aid-for-trade initiatives between 2006 and 2009 has produced “considerable progress in a short time.”
There are also a number of lessons to be learned from the implementation of these initiatives in the past years, Lammersen says, particularly on what makes for effective aid for trade. The joint OECD-WTO publication outlines some these key factors: country ownership, active private sector and civil society engagement, long-term donor commitment and adequate, reliable funding, among others.
But the international community still has a lot to learn in this field, Lammersen notes.
“Many more follow-up activities are needed to enhance our understanding of aid-for-trade results and their wider applicability,” he writes. “Knowledge-sharing should also look at how to clearly demonstrate that aid for trade is a worthwhile investment that can improve trade performance, generate economic growth and reduce poverty.”
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