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EIF delves deep into trade priorities for LDCs
By TII News Service
May 05, 2021 , Geneva


THE Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF) on Tuesday released policy briefs on tourism, apparel and sustainable development strategies, recommending actions to boost the participation of Least Developed Countries (LDCs) in global trade. A major focus is on the impact of the COVID-19 crisis and governments' policy responses.

Using case studies from various countries, including Cambodia, Madagascar, Lesotho and Zambia, as models, the briefs offer an overview of critical trade topics and recommend measures that LDCs could take at both the policy and institutional levels to improve trading opportunities.

A brief looks at integrating trade into sustainable development strategies using Cambodia as an example of reducing poverty and achieving its development objectives. International trade and investment have played a major role in the country sustaining an average growth rate of 7.9 per cent from 1997-2017. The country saw success mainstreaming trade by strategically directing the process, investing in its human capacity and fostering stakeholder dialogues and consultations across government institutions.

The goal of integrating trade in a country’s development planning is to improve livelihoods. But there also needs to be evidence that international trade is contributing to doing so – something that needs to be part of the work of trade mainstreaming, the brief notes.

The second brief looks at LDCs who have seen success using tourism to support recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. The tourism sectors must be rebuilt with sustainability in mind, says the brief. Community and nature-based tourism look promising in that respect. The Sierra Leone government has been aiming to capitalise on the country’s natural and cultural resources to attract tourists and promote community development.

A sustainable tourism development project that started in 2020, coordinated by EIF with Sierra Leone’s National Tourism Board and Tourism Ministry, is tackling key constraints and working to increase the nation’s presence as an attractive tourism destination on the international market.

The third brief looks at strengthening value chains in the clothing sector for LDCs aiming for export-oriented industrialisation as the global fashion industry recovers and evolves from the pandemic. Government support and a conducive policy environment are necessary, as are enabling investment frameworks. Strengthened relationships between buyers and suppliers help build resilience, and this includes greater transparency in the supply chain so as to reduce power imbalances.

Finally, social and environmental industry standards should take centrestage in the recovery, to ensure garment factory workers earn a living wage and have workplace protections in place.

The briefs draw from LDC governments, EIF and partner experience working to support trade across a vast landscape. Armed with examples and evidence of what has worked and what has not, together with strong support from international institutions, it comes up with a variety of short- to long-term actions which makes trade development in LDCs possible.

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