Launched at the Hong Kong Ministerial meeting in 2005, the Aid for Trade (AFT) initiative aims to help developing countries develop trade-related capacity that is needed to implement and benefit from WTO agreements and to expand their trade. On 18-19 July this year, the World Trade Organization will host the Third Global Review of Aid for Trade. Previous reviews in 2007 and 2009 have highlighted growing engagement by partners countries and their development partners in the AFT agenda. Results and impact of AFT on the ground will be the centerpiece of the upcoming Global Review.
As one of the largest donors of Aid for Trade, the U.S. has a central role in the initiative. Figures from the OECD estimate that US AFT expenditure totalled some $15.8 billion between 2007-2009. The emphasis on broad based economic growth in President Obama’s Presidential Policy Directive on Global Development should further cement the U.S.’s central role in AFT – and the Feed the Future initiative will be an important component of it. Along side the public sector, an ever broader array of private sector actors are becoming active participants in Aid for Trade. Heeding the call from World Bank President Robert Zoellick and WTO Director General Pascal Lamy in March, many companies are providing input into the Global Review through case stories. The private sector experience and know-how can be particularly useful in converting market access opportunities into sustainable market entry reality.
Valentine RUGWABIZA, Deputy Director General, WTO
Chris WILSON, AUSTR for WTO and Multilateral Affairs, USTR
Eric POSTEL, Assistant Administrator for Economic Growth, Agriculture and Trade, USAID
Selina JACKSON, Special Representative to the UN and WTO, The World Bank (Geneva)
Sarah THORN, Senior Director, Government Relations, Walmart
Moderator: Claude FONTHEIM, Senior Advisor, Business Council for Global Development, LLC.