Trade Forum Features

Global awards recognize excellence in innovative export initiatives

22 December 2016
ITC News
National trade and investment promotion organizations from Madagascar,
Costa Rica and France win global awards for innovative programmes

Trade and investment are two sides of the same coin. ‘For countries to break out of the traditional basket of export products, there must be synergies between policies on investment and trade promotion,’ according to Mukhisa Kituyi, Secretary-General of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.

Opening the 11th Trade Promotion Organization Network World Conference and Awards on 24 November in Marrakech, Morocco, Kituyi focused on the role of innovation in driving trade and investment in Africa and beyond.

As part of the biennial global conference – this year hosted by Maroc Export in collaboration with the International Trade Centre (ITC) – trade and investment promotion organizations are recognized for launching initiatives that create positive impact.

This year, national trade and investment promotion organizations from Madagascar, Costa Rica and France were recognized for excellence in export development programmes. These programmes must demonstrate a significant impact on the international competitiveness of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) accessing regional and global markets.

The categories are:

  • Best Trade Promotion Organization from a Least Developed Country: Madagascar
  • Best Trade Promotion Organization from a Developing Country: Costa Rica
  • Best Trade Promotion Organization from a Developed Country: France
The winners

Madagascar – Connecting SMEs to new markets
The International Trade Board of Madagascar supports traditional, semi-industrial and handicraft exports from SMEs. Since its creation in 2013, it has opened a one-stop shop for exports; certified two business clusters as organic and fair trade, opening doors to markets in the European Union and the United States; supported seven intermediary organizations to launch their own websites; and enabled luxury-clothing exporters to participate in trade fairs in Europe, Canada and the United States.

Costa Rica – Supporting SME diversification
PROCOMER’s new awards programme is boosting export diversification for SMEs. Created in 2015, it helps SMEs to work in a sustainable and financially independent way. It has also developed a ‘teamwork’ approach that brings SMEs together, enabling them to work across the agriculture, food, industry and services sectors.

France – Implementing internationalization strategies
Business France, with the investment bank Bpifrance and credit insurance company Coface, delivered customized support to connect 1,000 medium-sized companies with high growth potential to international markets. Of 850 companies enrolled, 65% have signed or negotiated an export contract.


‘These awards recognize trade and investment promotion organizations that promote sustainable, inclusive growth through trade, thus creating a transformational impact on business,’ said ITC Executive Director Arancha González.

She added that supporting SMEs is critical in today’s competitive global economy: ‘By offering targeted services to enterprises, trade and investment promotion organizations contribute to creating jobs and export income for their countries.’

The 14 trade and investment promotion organizations nominated for this year’s awards were from Afghanistan, Australia, Austria, Bangladesh, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador, France, Jamaica, Republic of Korea, Madagascar, the Netherlands and Qatar.

The 2016 Adjudicating Panel for the awards is chaired by ITC Executive Director Arancha González and includes senior representatives of the 2014 Trade Promotion Organization Network Awards.