UNCTAD´s annual report on activities in favour of Africa (TD/B/EX(37)/2) will be discussed at the thirty-seventh executive session of the Trade and Development Board on 26 July 2005. The report presents a panoramic picture of what the organization does in support of African countries and the NEPAD process. These activities fall under two broad categories, namely: policy research and analysis on Africa´s development challenges; and advisory services and capacity building.
a) Policy research and analysis
The report entitled "Economic Development in Africa: Debt Sustainability: Oasis or Mirage?" provides an in-depth analysis of the debt overhang and associated problems of African countries in achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The analysis shows that, despite progress in the HIPC Initiative, many indebted African countries are unlikely to find themselves in a sustainable debt situation or achieve the MDGs. It therefore recommends a debt write-off for the poorest countries or the application of an alternative set of debt sustainability criteria, including human development indicators.
b) Capacity building and advisory services
In the area of international trade, the second phase of the Joint Integrated Technical Assistance Programme (JITAP), launched in February 2003 for 16 African countries, continued in partnership with the ITC and WTO. This programme is focused on enhancing the capacities of national task forces established to deal with the multilateral trading system in the beneficiary countries.
Other trade-related technical assistance activities include: support on trade negotiations; assistance to countries in the process of accession to the WTO; support for African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) States in their negotiations with the EU on economic partnership agreements (EPAs); assistance in trade in services and trade preferences; and capacity-building and support in connection with South-South trade and regional and global trade agreements. Activities have also been implemented in the areas of the links between trade, the environment and development; competition and consumer protection policies; commodities; and services development;
Other areas of activity include: debt management; international investment (including investment policy reviews); enterprise development; and trade facilitation, including customs and multimodal transport.