The Enhanced Integration Framework (EIF) is a multi-donor program with the goal of promoting economic growth and sustainable development, while reducing poverty, in Least Developed Countries (LDCs). The annual report is published by the Executive Secretariat for the EIF at the WTO
The year 2019 was an eventful year for the least developed countries (LDCs) and indeed for global trade. As I write, preliminary data show that global exports fell in 2019, with LDC goods and services exports being particularly hard hit and falling by 1.6% over the year. Despite this situation, the commitment of many LDCs to the developmental power of trade remains clear, as demonstrated by the operationalization of the African Continental Free Trade Area and the rati cations of the Trade Facilitation Agreement by 27 LDCs. There is still a long way to go to meet the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target of doubling the LDC share of global exports and the support of the international community to this group of countries remains as critical now as it has ever been.
The EIF is a key mechanism to facilitate inclusive trade in the LDCs and to leverage the support of the international community. The EIF’s Strategic Plan 2019-2022 guides our support to policymaking and strengthening trade-related institutions, as well as our focus on expanding productive capacity, increasing exports and leveraging additional investment. An important milestone in 2019 was the launch of our “Empower Women, Power Trade” initiative, which aims to create catalytic change for at least 50,000 women in the LDCs.
Investments from the EIF have contributed to more than USD 1 billion in new exports from the LDCs
to date. These gains from trade are inclusive, with more than half of EIF productive capacity bene ciaries being women. Furthermore, our estimate shows that the EIF has contributed towards the creation of more than 30,000 jobs.
The total resources committed to the EIF Trust Fund (EIFTF) currently stand at USD 136.7 million. As always, we are grateful to the generous contributors, past and present. In 2019, nearly USD 14 million was pledged to the EIF from six countries, namely Australia, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Japan and Sweden.
Since 2016, the EIF has launched 114 projects worth USD 67 million (with USD 35 million in new projects submitted for approval in 2019) to build LDC capacity to trade and has mobilized a further USD 37.5 million in co-funding. Towards the end of the year 2019, the EIF Board extended the implementation period of EIF projects through to June 2023, ensuring that those countries that most require support can harness the resources of the EIF.
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