Heads of UNDP, ITC discuss cooperation, role of ICT in development
GENEVA - Developing countries need to invest in information and communications technologies (ICT) to accelerate their economic development, the heads of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the International Trade Centre (ITC) agreed at their meeting in Geneva yesterday.
Helen Clark, Administrator of UNDP, and Arancha González, Executive Director of ITC, met on the eve of the World Trade Organization’s Public Forum held under the theme 'Expanding trade through innovation and the digital economy'.
Ms Clark highlighted the iHub digital innovation incubator project in Kenya, which UNDP is helping to take global. The goal of the project is to generate employment for youth through ICT, she said.
The two leaders discussed cooperation between the two organizations in beneficiary countries. UNDP, which has offices in 177 countries, provides logistical support to several ITC-run projects. The two agencies need to take their cooperation to the next level, the two leaders agreed. ‘The work of ITC and the UNDP is complementary and there is much scope for enhancing this collaboration,’ Ms González said.
UNDP supports ITC’s work in enabling small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to exploit opportunities in international trade, Ms Clark said. ‘The vast majority of the 600 million new jobs needed will come from SMEs, especially for women and youth,’ she said.
‘SMEs are a critical growth element in the post-2015 development process and ITC is the only organization which specifically provides trade-related capacity building to SMEs,’ Ms González said, referring to the ongoing debate in the United Nations on identifying development goals for after 2015, when the Millennium Development Goals, set in 2000, expire.
The two leaders reviewed how ITC’s projects contribute to the United Nations’ development efforts. They discussed ITC’s work in post-conflict states, innovative approach to e-solutions, agri-food development, branding and fashion, among others.