ITC showcases South-South impact at Global South-South Development Expo

9 November 2016
ITC News
Solutions Forum highlights successful examples to boost trade between developing countries.

Sharing knowledge and expertise in South-South trade and investment was the focus of a forum organized by the International Trade Centre (ITC) at the Global South-South Development Expo 2016 (GSSD Expo 2016) in Dubai, held between 31 October and 3 November 2016. GSSD Expo 2016 is a knowledge exchange platform to highlight and disseminate proven South-South development solutions, lessons learned and best practices between developing countries, donor agencies, business and private-sector groups, civil society organizations and United Nations agencies.

GSSD Expo 2016 was hosted by the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC) and the Zayed International Foundation, supported by the government of the United Arab Emirates.

On 1 November, ITC, through its Supporting Indian Trade and Investment for Africa project (SITA), organized a Solutions Forum called Boosting South-South Trade and Investment Cooperation for Development Impact. The forum highlighted working solutions designed and implemented to address development challenges and sought to inform policymakers and development agencies on models to address UN Sustainable Development Goals. It provided examples of successful initiatives rolled-out by SITA and the African Cotton Promotion and Value-added project.

Mr. Govind Venuprasad, ITC’s Programme Manager for South-South Trade and Investment, highlighted an example where SITA, in partnership with the Export-Import Bank of India, had fostered policy change and institutional building following their assessment of the feasibility of setting up an export credit guarantee scheme for Rwanda. Their report resulted in the government agreeing to the creation of the scheme and seeking financial support for it. The export credit guarantee scheme will increase the country’s financial inclusion and export performance.

Trade impact

Handloom experts from India and Zambia discussed ITC’s collaboration with Indian and national counterparts across East Africa. Ms. Sharmistha Mohapatra from the social initiative subsidiary of Infrastructure Leasing and Financial Services, a services firm,highlighted the importance of knowledge and technology transfer from India to East Africa. She said that small upgrades in adopting appropriate technologies can lead to substantial gains in productivity and cited the example of upgraded spinning wheels, which cost US$ 120, that improved productivity four-fold.

Ms. Aselly Mwanza from the Cotton Association of Zambia told the forum how skills training, exposure visits and access to finance had transformed women weavers in her country from mere producers to market operators, thereby boosting incomes and productive capacities. She said that training of trainers initiatives have ensured that the growth trajectory in the number of women adopting weaving as a source of income would continue.
Meanwhile, Mr. Robert Njoka from Zingo Investments in Kenya said that a partnership with the Indian animal by-products company, P. Subbaraj & Co., to convert trimmings and shavings from animal hides into bio-fertiliser would reduce dependence on imports, provide his company with a new product and revenue source, and most of all, convert waste that was previously destined for landfills into a useful ‘wealth’ creating product.

Mr. Noel Hirwa, a farmer from Rwanda said that his partnership with Akay Flavours, an Indian company, would enable expansion of his farm over the next 2 years and that the community around him would also be farming chilli. Meanwhile, Mr. Balu Maliakel, Managing Director of Akay Flavours, said that committed farmers such as Mr. Hirwa, organized community-level farmer groups, and a responsive government – especially the National Agricultural Export Board – was in Rwanda’s favour despite being a landlocked country. He also said that Akay was looking to establish a processing plant in 2018 once the chili production had been scaled up.

Learn more about the Supporting Indian Trade and Investment for Africa project.