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Advancing the Aid-for-Trade agenda

IDB highlights Initiative's results in Latin America and the Caribbean at Third Global Review

The Aid-for-Trade (AfT) Initiative aims to support developing countries’ efforts to overcome obstacles so that they can benefit from trade liberalization and market access opportunities. The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) serves as the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) main institutional counterpart for AfT in Latin America and the Caribbean.The Bank also coordinates the monitoring and evaluation of AfT activities with the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

The IDB is committed to using AfT as a pivotal tool for achieving the region’s socioeconomic development objectives. AfT has a significant impact on the ground, contributing not only to robust growth, but also to improved indicators in job creation, income, and overall quality of life. Reflecting this conviction, between 2008 and 2010 the IDB financed over $18 billion in AfT activities across the region in productive capacity, economic infrastructure and trade policy and regulations. In 2010 alone, IDB financing for AfT projects reached $5.2 billion.

Going forward, the IDB intends to sustain and expand its AfT portfolio. A perfect window of opportunity is available with the Bank’s Ninth General Capital Increase and Regional Integration Strategy, which calls for devoting 15% of its operations to achieving regional and global integration.

In 2010 the IDB coordinated efforts in the region to respond to the joint WTO-OECD call for case stories and self-assessment questionnaires in preparation for the Third Global Review of Aid-for-Trade, scheduled to take place in Geneva July 18-19, 2011. Beneficiary and donor countries, regional organizations and international development institutions were invited to be part of this process as a means of building a body of knowledge and evidence on the impact of the AfT Initiative.

The analysis of the case stories and questionnaires features in the Aid for Trade at a Glance 2011 report, which shows an upward trend in AfT flows (an increase of 60 percent between 2005 and 2009) and a positive impact on development goals. While better monitoring and evaluation mechanisms are in place, the report calls for “a joint, streamlined approach” that strengthens country ownership and ensures AfT is meeting its targets and boosting economic growth and development.