African trade diplomats briefed on ITC trade and market intelligence tools
Trade diplomats from six African countries are better equipped to direct their capital-based counterparts to policy-relevant trade and market intelligence, following a briefing from experts at the International Trade Centre in Geneva last month.
Access to reliable information on global markets is a key challenge for exporters and importers in developing countries, particularly in Africa. Yet understanding trade opportunities, along with practical issues such as how to obtain customs-related documentation, is essential for entrepreneurs to thrive in existing markets, tap into new ones, and diversify their product range. Similarly, governments’ effort to promote trade as a driver of growth will be most effective when policymakers understand how to target interventions at sectors and activities with the highest trade potential.
To this end, ITC experts on 23 April briefed trade attachés from Botswana, the Comoros, Eritrea, Rwanda, Uganda and Zambia on how to use ITC’s suite of free online tools: Trade Map, Market Access Map, the Rules of Origin Facilitator, the Export Potential Map and the Market Price Information portal. The feedback from the participants was highly positive.
‘The briefing gave us a wider picture of market intelligence tools available and in particular we were pleased to hear those tools can be customized and tailored to the needs in our capitals,’ said Edouard Bizumuremyi, a Rwandan official.
Governments and trade and investment support institutions would be able to use the tools to ‘create awareness as well as sensitize the businesses about the usefulness of the market analysis tools by laying out the opportunities in the unexplored markets,’ added Billy Malijani, Zambia’s trade attaché. He said that the tools would contribute to bolstering business competitiveness.
‘The event deepened ITC’s relationship with the Geneva-based diplomatic missions of its partner countries,’ said Ramin Granfar, a country manager in ITC’s Office for Africa, explaining that participants would be able to advise their respective governments on the services ITC can provide. Future briefings are planned on topics including ITC’s e-learning platform, the SME Trade Academy, and SheTrades, ITC’s flagship initiative on women’s economic empowerment.