Magazine article International Trade Forum

Making Aid for Trade Work for Women: Studies Show Benefits of a More Inclusive Economic Model

Magazine article International Trade Forum

Making Aid for Trade Work for Women: Studies Show Benefits of a More Inclusive Economic Model

Article excerpt

Let us go back 12 years, to when the Aid for Trade Task Force was created. Gender was written into the initiative's guiding principles: 'Aid for trade should be rendered taking full account of the gender perspective. Donors and partner countries jointly commit to the harmonization of efforts on issues such as gender.'

Fast forward to today. It turns out that momentum on gender has been building. Some 87% of Aid for Trade donors surveyed for the Aid for Trade Global Review in 2017 have integrated women's economic empowerment into their Aid for Trade programmes. Similarly, most of developing countries believe the programme can meaningfully contribute to women's economic empowerment. All surveyed countries and Aid for Trade donors consider that it contributes to the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

While momentum is growing, a lot remains to be done. We also need to do it effectively.

WOMEN'S TRADE CAPACITY Supporting the participation of women in international trade is one of its key components of the inclusive trade solutions many governments want to employ. Through Aid for Trade, the World Trade Organization (WTO) has been focusing on women with the aim of building their trade capacity and using trade as a tool for their development.

Past Global Reviews have highlighted a broad range of areas in which Aid for Trade support is effective.

Some of the results show $ 1 of Aid for Trade is worth S20 of exports. That dollar has a positive, although implicit, impact on women's economic empowerment because Aid for Trade is a tool for women's development. As the initiative matures its impact is becoming increasing clear.

Since 2011 Aid for Trade has increasingly focused on women's empowerment and through the global survey--one of the WTO's main monitoring processes--we have a better perspective on policy trends related to development and women's empowerment.

Gender was specifically addressed at the 2011 Aid for Trade Global Review, which highlighted a virtuous circle of efforts to improve women's economic empowerment through trade capacity building.

Launched at the 2015 Global Review, 'The Role of Trade in Ending Poverty', joint WTO-World Bank Group publication, analysed how trade integration can positively impact women's economic empowerment. One strong conclusion was that high trade costs fell heavily on least developed countries (LDCs), particularly on their small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and also on women traders. This higher cost prices them out of international trade.

The 2015 Global Review also reported on impacts in female employment and examined how to include women into value chains and barriers facing women traders, especially in Africa. …

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