Stories

Export Potential Map: Making trade promotion more effective (en)

1 juillet 2019
ITC Nouvelles

The challenge

To use trade to spark sustained and inclusive economic growth, economies need to carve out competitive niches in the global market. Identifying and exploiting lucrative export opportunities requires businesses to have strategic information about prospective markets: demand trends, tariffs and regulatory requirements and other market access conditions.

Market research is a resource-intensive undertaking. Particularly in developing countries, government agencies and trade and investment support institutions (TISIs) lack the resources to perform the in-depth analytical work necessary to effectively identify opportunities for export growth and diversification. This in turn prevents them from concentrating their efforts on sectors and markets likely to yield the greatest trade and development dividends. The effectiveness of such support is critical for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), which lack the resources of larger competitors to conduct such analysis themselves.

The response

To simplify the task of identifying promising export opportunities, ITC has created Export Potential Map. The free online tool provides evidence-based analysis across thousands of products and 226 markets based on countries’ supply capacities, global demand adjusted for market access conditions and the relative strength of trade relationships between countries.

The information provided by Export Potential Map enables governments and organizations seeking to support private-sector export growth to focus finite financial and human resources on the sectors and markets with the greatest potential for success. ITC can, on request, also produce customized country-specific versions of Export Potential Map, as it did for Malawi (https://malawi.exportpotential.intracen.org/) in 2018.

The results

In 2018, nearly 28,000 users from 190 countries and territories, led by India, Peru and Turkey, drew on Export Potential Map.

Egypt’s Export Development Authority (EDA) used ITC market access tools – Export Potential Map along with Trade Map and Market Access Map – to identify priority products and markets in its Export Multiplication Plan, a strategy to achieve 10% annual export growth over each of the next five years.

Following training by ITC experts, the Egyptian agency has integrated Export Potential Map into its services, using it to provide product-specific information to local exporters. It also created a portal (http://expoegypt.gov.eg) providing market intelligence to nearly 3,900 MSME clients for products, including citrus fruits, honey, cheese, building materials, garments and chemicals.

Export Potential Map also supports the trade promotion efforts of other TISIs. The Nigerian Export Promotion Council, which works to diversify the country’s export basket beyond petroleum, hosts a trade portal that employs data from the ITC tool in information videos highlighting untapped potential across target markets for key products including ginger, dry beans, cashews, cocoa, leather and sesame. Thousands of Nigerian exporters have used the platform since its July 2018 launch.

Officials at the Kenya Investment Authority use Export Potential Map to inform pitches to potential investors with evidence-based analysis about potential export products such as avocados.

Product of Uganda is a social enterprise that works with the Uganda Chamber of Commerce for SMEs to help businesses obtain quality certification as well as access to market research and training to help them successfully export products such as shea butter, tea, fruits and vegetables. It uses Export Potential Map as the starting point for research aimed at guiding MSMEs towards the most promising products, before working to identify and overcome the binding constraints holding back production and exports. 


CBI, the Netherlands government’s Centre for the Promotion of Imports from developing countries, works in strategic sectors and value chains in 35 developing countries to promote exports to Europe. It combines sector expertise and local knowledge with ITC export potential analysis to identify and prioritize the most promising products for coaching and value chain support.

The future

Beyond using Export Potential Map to help MSMEs find promising export opportunities for merchandise, ITC is exploring the use of the underlying analysis to estimate the job creation that would result if countries were to fully realize their export potential.

In related work, a pilot project with the International Labour Organization (ILO) identified sectors with large job creation potential in Benin, Morocco, Ghana, Guatemala, Jordan, Myanmar, the Philippines and Rwanda. The ILO’s regional office in Jordan is using the results of this analysis to advise national stakeholders on promising avenues to create additional employment opportunities for refugees in the country. The goal of this work is to take advantage of export potential to the European Union (EU) market, using a rules of origin agreement between the EU and Jordan that offers special trade access to companies whose workforces include a significant share (15% or more) of Syrian refugees.

ITC and the ILO have initiated a new project using export potential data to identify sectors for skills development in Ethiopia and Tanzania; the idea is to align upskilling efforts with international market opportunities.

In addition, ITC is working to extend the analysis to identify services sectors with export growth potential, as well as to spot the most promising opportunities for upgrading through national and regional value chains.