UNCTAD´s annual report on activities in favour of Africa will be central to discussions to be held during the 39th Executive Session of the Trade Development Board on 30 June 2006. This report presents a broad overview of what UNCTAD is doing in support of African countries and the NEPAD process. These activities fall in two broad categories: policy research and analysis on Africa´s development challenges; and advisory services and capacity-building.
a) Policy research and analysis
In 2005 UNCTAD´s report on "Economic Development in Africa: Rethinking the Role of Foreign Direct Investment" called for a more critical approach to evaluating the size, quality and impact of FDI in African countries, and suggested that policymakers should pay greater attention to the costs and benefits of FDI rather than an inordinate preoccupation with its attraction. Accordingly, the report argued for a more balanced and strategic approach to FDI tailored to African economic conditions and development challenges.
b) Capacity-building and advisory services
In the area of international trade, the second phase of Joint Integrated Technical Assistance Programme (JITAP), launched in February 2003 for 16 African countries, continued in partnership with the ITC and WTO. JITAP has assisted beneficiary countries in better understanding, developing and adjusting policies, measures, institutions and resources to utilize trade liberalization as an engine of trade expansion, development and poverty reduction.
Other trade-related technical assistance activities include: support on trade negotiations and trade negotiating capacity; African intra-regional trade; assistance in trade in services and trade preferences; competition law and policy; and support to African countries participating or interested in joining the GSTP process. Also implemented were activities related to trade, environment and development, commodities and services development.
Other areas of UNCTAD activities in favour of Africa cover issues dealing with: debt management; international investment (including investment policy reviews); enterprise development; as well as capacity-building in trade facilitation including Customs and multimodal transport.