Moi University, the second oldest university in Kenya, and the German Development Institute (DIE), one of the world's leading development think tanks, joined the Virtual Institute recently, expanding the institutional membership to 75 universities and think tanks from 39 countries.
Moi University, along with core member, the University of Nairobi, make up the Kenyan representation in the UNCTAD Virtual Institute network.
The university offers a BA in economics, BSc and MSc in agricultural economics and resource management, PhD courses and programmes in business administration, hospitality, and tourism management. Research revolves around agricultural trade in the East African region, and covers aspects related to marketing, competitiveness and drivers of exports.
Moi University's Virtual Institute member coordinator is Mark Korir, Head of the Department of Economics, who holds a PhD in agricultural economics and resource management, and teaches international commodity trade at the graduate level.
The university is particularly interested in cooperating with the Virtual Institute network on the design and implementation of an MSc programme in international economics and trade.
The German Development Institute (DIE), based in Bonn, is the ninth think tank to join the Virtual Institute network. The Institute has worked to build bridges between theory and practice since its establishment in 1964.
Active both in research and education, its research programmes include world economy and development financing; competitiveness and social development; environmental policy and management of natural resources; governance, statehood and security; and bilateral and multilateral development cooperation. Its Postgraduate Training Programme prepares German and European university graduates for careers in development cooperation organizations in Germany and abroad.
Clara Brandi,PhD, of DIE's Department of World Economy and Development Financing, has been appointed Virtual Institute member coordinator. Her research interests include developing countries and the WTO, Aid for Trade, voluntary standards and climate change.
The UNCTAD Virtual Institute programme was created in June 2004 at UNCTAD XI in Sao Paulo, Brazil, to respond to the training and research needs of developing country policy makers and other relevant stakeholders in the area of trade and investment policy.
The work of the Virtual Institute has been supplemented by the creation of the Global Network of Development Think Tanks mandated by the Accra Accord agreed at UNCTAD XII in Accra, Ghana, in April 2008.
The Doha Mandate adopted at UNCTAD XIII in Doha, Qatar, in April 2012 asked the Secretariat to: "Intensify its interaction with academic and research institutions, especially through the Virtual Institute and the Global Network of Development Think Tanks, to strengthen the development of local teaching and research capacities in member States and foster links between researchers and policymakers."