Assessing Aid for Trade

Effectiveness, Current Issues and Future Directions

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Aid for Trade (AfT) has been an integral part of official development assistance (ODA) since its inception at the World Trade Organization’s Hong Kong Ministerial in 2005. While many observers agree that the initiative has generated momentum in securing more trade support, the policy discourse on AfT continues to be vibrant and dynamic.

This volume, comprising 16 chapters prepared by 20 renowned experts from a range of international organisations, think tanks and academic institutions, including Commonwealth Secretariat, ODI, ECDPM, DIE, ICTSD, Saana Consulting, WTI Advisors, and Columbia University, provides a comprehensive review of the Aid for Trade initiative.

Part I of this volume uses quantitative and qualitative analysis to examine the effectiveness of different components of Aid for Trade and underlying factors affecting the outcomes. Part II provides analyses of current issues, including regional AfT, global value chains, infrastructure for development for agriculture, AfT adjustment and lessons from emerging economies in aiding exports. Part III looks to the future, proposing a range of possible directions including an alternative way to improve trade outcomes for developing countries from Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz.



A Summary of Commonwealth Roundtable, on Aid for Trade

The roundtable provided an opportunity for Professor Joseph Stiglitz to present the main arguments and findings of an ongoing study that he was undertaking in collaboration with Dr Andrew Charlton entitled ‘The Right to Trade’, and to receive comments and suggestions from participants. Their study examines the emergence of Aid for Trade (AfT), evaluates its performance to date, and then outlines an alternative path for AfT as part of a pro-development multilateral liberalisation agenda. They propose two new initiatives. First, the World Trade Organization (WTO) would enshrine a ‘Right to Trade’ operational within the WTO dispute settlement system. This right would give developing countries legal recourse against advanced countries whose policies materially affect the development of poor countries by restricting their ability to trade. Second, dedicated funds committed by rich countries to a ‘Global Trade Facility’ would be administered by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and dispersed through a competitive and transparent process based on needs and impact.


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