WEDF participants make business contacts, gain trade knowledge, share best practices

11 August 2014
ITC News

Participation in the World Export Development Forum (WEDF) leads to new business contacts, generates business opportunities and results in actionable best practices, say former attendees.

Eighty percent of the participants who responded to a survey following the 13th WEDF, held in October 2012 in Jakarta, Indonesia, said they had made new business contacts at the event, and nearly half said they generated new business opportunities. For example, the Indonesian national airline Garuda Indonesia concluded a deal to provide aircraft maintenance to three Nigerian airlines.

As the only global forum dedicated to practical solutions in trade-led development, WEDF brings together some 500 business leaders, senior policymakers and heads of trade support organizations from around the world to discuss export competitiveness, network and participate in business-to-business meetings.

The 14th WEDF will be held in Kigali, Rwanda, from 15-17 September, under the theme ‘SMEs: Creating jobs through trade’. Delegates will explore how small and medium-sized enterprises, particularly those in developing countries, can link with businesses around the world and contribute to job creation. Speakers include World Trade Organization Director-General Roberto Azevêdo, Rwandan President Paul Kagame, East African Community Secretary-General Richard Sezibera, and entrepreneur and investor Ashish Thakkar. Participants will also learn from practitioners about best practices in areas such as branding, private voluntary standards, value addition and retention in value chains, trade facilitation, and tourism.

Following the previous WEDF, many participants said that they gained a better understanding of the role of trade promotion organizations after attending the event. A third of participants said they came away with actionable insights on topics such as supply-chain management, value addition, strengthening of SME competitiveness, tariff and non-tariff barriers, information technologies, public-private partnerships, trade finance, and Asia-Africa trade.

The Government of Indonesia issued this statement after the most recent WEDF: ‘Our business people didn’t only get chances to share their business experiences, but also to expand the network and to hear from other stakeholders about new business opportunities and challenges.’

Registration to WEDF, including facilitated one-on-one networking sessions, is open at

WEDF is organized by the International Trade Centre, the only United Nations organization with an exclusive focus on assisting small and medium-sized enterprises. It is hosted by the Rwanda Development Board (RDB).