Preliminary discussions focused on the policies, strategies, regulations and institutions in Nicaragua that relate to the country's services sector.
Work on the Nicaraguan Services Policy Review (SPR) began in August 2012. Nicaragua's Ministry of Trade has identified telecommunications, financial services, road transport services and the tourism sector as areas of focus for the SPR.
SPRs - of which UNCTAD has carried out five at the request of governments - are intended to help developing countries set effective strategies to spur the growth of their services sectors. Services, which cover a broad range of activities from infrastructure such as electricity and roads to intellectual work such as engineering and computer programming, are vital for healthy economic progress. They account for 66.3 per cent of global GDP (UNCTADStat figures for 2010).
The workshop consisted of a general review of the services economy in Nicaragua, lessons learned from UNCTAD's intergovernmental and technical assistance work regarding regulatory frameworks in the services sector, a summary of the benefits of trade in services, and sector-specific discussions relating to Nicaragua's particular circumstances. Some 40 representatives of the public and private sector attended, including officials from key Government regulatory agencies.
The SPR, when completed, will identify potential trade and policy reforms in the services sector to help Nicaragua meet its development objectives. The goals of the SPR are to strengthen the contribution of the services sector to the national economy, to improve coherence in policymaking, and to strengthen and improve institutional and regulatory frameworks in the services sector.
SPRs generally take 11 months to complete. In addition to the SPR for Nicaragua, UNCTAD is currently carrying out reviews for Peru and Uganda.
Services Policy Reviews and their findings will be featured topics of discussion at the Global Services Forum that will be held in Beijing on 28 and 29 May.