By Byron Mutingwende in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
The Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF) is positively impacting least developed countries (LDCs) by supporting trade that is closely tied to development goals to reduce poverty and improve lives.
Deanna Ramsay, the Managing Editor of the Trade for Development News under IEF told journalists attending a training workshop in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on Saturday 16 November 2019 of the success of the initiative in as far as promoting trade is concerned.
The EIF is a partnership of agencies including the World Trade Organisation (WTO), the World Bank, the International Trade Center (ITC), and UN agencies. It is housed at World Trade Organization and was created by WTO ministers after realising that least developed countries (LDCs) needed more support as they worked to integrate into global trading system and had numerous obstacles, whether structural, geographic or historic.
“EIF works to support trade in LDCs and this is closely tied to development goals to reduce poverty and improve lives. To date US$220 million has been invested in the initiative. The investments go to Ministries of Trade to work on things like policy enhancements, trade promotion as well as easing processing times at borders (for example in Rwanda),” Ramsay said.
In Zambia, IEF trained communities on modern beekeeping techniques that preserve trees and produce better quality honey. Simon Hess and Michelle Kovacevic, writing in Trade for Development News last year, said through the initiative, Zambia’s honey exports had grown by 700% – from EUR 163 000 to EUR 1 316 000 – in five years.
“The project has made significant impact on Zambia’s apiculture sector. Not only has it increased the productivity of the sector, it has reduced deforestation and encouraged more women into beekeeping,” Griffin Nyirongo, EIF Project Manager at Zambia’s Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry, which had collaborated with SNV Zambia and EIF at that time was quoted in the article.
In other news, three companies in the Comoros obtained trade financing worth over $400 000 for vanilla and clove harvesting and exports, thanks to a joint project by ITC and the United Nations Development Programme and on-the-ground work targeting certain sectors identified as priorities, could be cashews in Gambia (where EIF helps small businesses like nut producers get the machinery and certifications they need to export), honey in Ethiopia (where the product is traditionally produced and has great potential for income.
“We are giving rural unemployed hives and teaching them how to cultivate colonies, and soon will be harvesting, later will move to processing and packaging). The EIF’s mandate is to support trade in the least developed countries (LDCs) with the ultimate goal of poverty reduction. EIF is the only organisation focused solely on this. We work in 51 countries, 47 of which are LDCs.The four countries recently graduated are Maldives, Samoa, Botswana and Cape Verde. We use the term “graduate” for when a country has fulfilled certain criteria as defined by the United Nations,” Ramsay said.
LDCs are countries that are disadvantaged for structural, historical and geographical reasons. They are determined by the UN after considering three criteria. This applies to countries whose gross national income per capita is somewhere around US$1,200 a year. They also consider human assets based on an index that includes measures like maternal mortality and education. Economic vulnerability is another criterion that is based on an index that looks at vulnerability to environmental and economic shocks as well as things like diversification, and percent of population living in coastal zones.
Available statistics show that 33 LDCs are in Africa. On the other hand, 68% of EIF funding goes to to Africa; 21% goes to to Asia; 10% to Pacific while 1% to goes to the Americas. The funding comes from donor countries like Sweden, Japan, Australia, the UK and the US.