Trade Partnerships for LDCs, Africa

Article excerpt

ITC's annual intergovernmental meeting, the Joint Advisory Group (Geneva, 19 to 23 April), focused on how ITC is moving from a successful reform process and basic retooling, to its mission: effective delivery of its field programmes.

Ambassador J.-M. Noirfalisse of Belgium was elected Chairman of the Session. The Vice-Chairpersons were Mr. A. Mannan of Bangladesh and Ms. A.L. Gentil Cabral Petersen of Brazil. Mr. M.K. Githinji of Kenya was Rapporteur.

Linkages help leverage resources for LDCs

Rubens Ricupero, Secretary-General of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), told the Group that "cooperation between our two organizations is today close and harmonious," with "genuine recognition of each other's competencies and a desire to maximize our modest resources by pooling our strengths". He cited advanced cooperation in the areas of promotion of entrepreneurship in developing countries, human resource development, public information, and joint trade development programmes for African countries and least developed countries (LDCs).

Renato Ruggiero, Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO), told the Group that "by building linkages with other international organizations, with national governments, with the private sector, ITC leveraged its small resources behind a difficult but centrally important challenge - the challenge of helping the marginalized and LDCs enter the mainstream of a fast-globalizing economy". He also stressed the importance of the Integrated Framework for Trade-Related Technical Assistance, which aims at assisting LDCs enhance their trade opportunities, and is based on a "bottom-up" approach.

From reform to implementation

J. Denis Belisle, ITC's Executive Director, took stock of ITC's assets today. "ITC has introduced new management processes, strengthened its core competencies, re-engineered its tools and approaches to respond more effectively to the clearly expressed needs of its clientele, and has been rejuvenated with the arrival of new staff. ITC's comparative advantages and value-added input are becoming apparent to all," he told the Group.

The meeting reviewed ITC's technical cooperation activities in 1998, as well as the Report of the Consultative Committee of the ITC Global Trust Fund. The Group praised ITC for completion of institutional reform, noting that ITC had come a long way in a short time, and for increased collaboration with other organizations, especially its parent bodies. Some expressed satisfaction with the ability of existing institutional mechanisms, such as the Joint Advisory Group and the Global Trust Fund Consultative Committee, to communicate effectively with ITC's stakeholders. Others complimented ITC on its capacity to anticipate collective needs of its clientele, thus providing decision-makers with information and advice to set objectives and choose strategic options. …