UNCTAD TRAINFORTRADE – Strengthening knowledge for sustainable economic development

The UNCTAD TRAINFORTRADE programme provides bespoke technical assistance to developing countries. The aim of the programme is to empower countries to participate in, and reap the benefits of, international trade in an equitable and sustainable manner. The programme has three goals:

  1. Build sustainable networks of knowledge to enhance South-South cooperation and national ownership;
  2. Promote digital solutions and innovative thinking to enhance capacities of international trade players;
  3. Encourage development-oriented trade policy to reduce poverty and to promote transparency and good practices in trade.
The course on statistics on international trade in services helped me to understand the complexities, while also providing great accurate reference documents on the methodology for measuring trade in services, such as digital trade and its applications.Cynthia Aryshandy, Technical officer, Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries, Republic of Indonesia (2021)

TRAINFORTRADE contributes to the achievement of SDGs concerning life below water (SDG 14), industry innovation and infrastructure (SDG 9), decent work and economic growth (SDG 8), gender equality (SDG 5) and ending poverty in all forms (SDG 1). TRAINFORTRADE also contributes to SDG 17, most directly to SDG Target 17.9, by building the capacity of developing countries to support the implementation of sustainable development goals in trade. Furthermore, in addition to timely management of the goods received, ports must prepare for the coming effects of climate change: rising temperatures, rising waters and extreme weather events; they must also ensure the environmental sustainability of their practices as part of global value chains. TRAINFORTRADE also organises specialised workshops addressing climate change and the carbon market, thus contributing to SDG 13 also.

More than 11 000 participants from 2017 to 2021

Over the past five years, the programme has enhanced the capacities of 11 304 participants1, completing, on average, eight full days of training. In total, between 2017 and 2021, participants received training equivalent to almost 94 000 full days, or 518 000 hours (see table 1).

Table 1. Total capacity development provided by TRAINFORTRADE
Year(s)Number of participants totalProportion femaleTotal amount of training in hoursTotal amount of training in daysNumber of countries receiving training
20171 21136%78 62913 00681
201886236%66 93910 60470
20192 93947%128 10922 352170
20204 45743%92 69517 880177
20214 45743%148 63129 426184
2017 - 202111 30444%515 00393 268208
Source: UNCTAD TRAINFORTRADE.
Note: For activities lasting longer than a single year, the number of participants is represented in each year. For that reason, the number of participants does not add up to the 2017-2021 total.

TRAINFORTRADE trained 11 304 participants from 208 different countries during this 5-year period (see map 1). Asia and the Pacific, Africa, and Americas regions accounted for the bulk of this capacity development, with 43 per cent, 29 per cent and 19 per cent of all participants, respectively.

Map 1. Nationalities of participants in TRAINFORTRADE courses, 2017-2021
Source: UNCTAD TRAINFORTRADE.

Focus on port management and international trade

During the last five years, TRAINFORTRADE has focused on three areas: (1) port management; (2) international e-commerce; and (3) international trade statistics. Port management supports port communities in implementing efficient and competitive port management services. The e-commerce training covers legal aspects of e-commerce, best practices and digital identity, while the statistics training pertains to the compilation and use of trade in services statistics and merchandise trade statistics. Courses are currently offered in English, French and Spanish.

TRAINFORTRADE combines e-learning with face-to-face activities. This is a an environmentally friendly and cost-efficient method of delivering high-quality capacity building that offers considerable flexibility, making it a pragmatic approach for today’s busy world -—
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. Between 2017 and 2021, TRAINFORTRADE held a total of 117 TRAINFORTRADE courses and events, in either face-to-face, online or hybrid formats.

Overall, 44 per cent of all participants between 2017 and 2021 were female (table 2). The lower proportion of female participants is partly explained by the fact that some courses are aimed at sectors that are themselves male-dominated. This is especially true of, for instance, port management, an area with 32 per cent of female participation, which influences the overall ratio. In contrast, activities on e-commerce and trade statistics are well balanced, with the ratio at 49 per cent. Additionally, online courses seem to be better gender-balanced in terms of participation as compared to other type of activities, with an overall female proportion of 48 per cent.

Table 2. Capacity development provided by TRAINFORTRADE by programme area, course and delivery mode, 2017-2021
Programme AreaCourse Delivery modeNumber of participantsProportion FemaleNumber of days of trainingNumber of hours of training
Port ManagementPort Management Programme Advisory services4831%125478
Coaching11029%5484 384
Juries15517%00
National deliveries1 05728%37 282231 980
Port conference3824%120960
Port performance5725%156468
Study tour8237%4283 424
Training of trainers21432%1 97115 768
Webinar23336%466932
Building Port Resilience Against PandemicsOnline course98535%3 80819 700
Webinar26143%261522
e-Commercee-Commerce Best PracticesOnline course81653%5 32926 228
Hybrid workshop11039%3302 640
Webinar12346%123246
Physical workshop8054%3652 920
Digital Identity for Trade and DevelopmentOnline course41745%2 54312 028
Physical workshop2638%104832
e-Commerce Generic CourseAdvisory services2138%63126
Trade StatisticsInternational Merchandise Trade StatisticsOnline course3 18450%20 16097 632
Physical workshop7256%3382704
Statistics on International Trade in ServicesOnline course2 86349%18 32088 174
Webinar21843%218436
Physical workshop13441%6705 360
Total11 30444%93 728517 942
Source: UNCTAD TRAINFORTRADE.
Notes: For detailed information, see appendix 1.

Table 2 and the panels in figure 1 below show the most active programme area in terms of participation is trade statistics, which accounts for 57 per cent of all participants. This includes, for example, international merchandise trade statistics and statistics on international trade in services, courses that are jointly run by UNCTAD Statistics, UNSD, WTO and TRAINFORTRADE, and begin with a six-week online course moderated by international experts. Until 2019, candidates who successfully completed the course and passed the online tests may have been invited to regional face-to-face workshops to further develop their knowledge. From 2020, the face-to-face component was replaced by webinars due to restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In terms of training days, the area of port management accounts for 48 per cent of total training time. It is an intensive development programme designed to support ports to implement efficient and competitive port management services to increase trade flows and foster sustainable economic development. Recently it was enriched with a special course on building port resilience against pandemics.

Figure 1. Participation in TRAINFORTRADE programme areas, by (a) number of participants and (b) days of training, percentage, 2017-2021

Participants

Days of training

Source: UNCTAD TRAINFORTRADE.

The cooperation in the port management network with UNCTAD TRAINFORTRADE is important to reboot our economies from the COVID-19 crisis in a sustainable and inclusive manner.Godwin Alini, CEO, Office of Ports and Harbours of Gabon (2021)

Over 320 people trained and employed as trainers –promoting South- South cooperation

Training of trainers is an important component of the port management training programme. Between 2017 and 2021, 324 trainers were trained and employed as trainers. In most cases, these trainers were employed in their own countries. Out of these 324 trainers, 26 per cent were female (see table 3). The African region observed the largest number of trainers from the South, with these trainers largely serving West Africa. An essential element of this initiative is to develop trainers from the South for each of the three language networks (English, French, Spanish), who then go on to train others from the South, i.e., a trainer from one developing country trains trade practitioners in another developing country in a face-to-face or on-line setting. In doing so, TRAINFORTRADE makes an important, although indirect, contribution to South-South cooperation – an important ambition of SDG 17.

Table 3. Total number of trainers trained by TRAINFORTRADE, 2017-2021
RegionParticipantsProportion femaleCountries
Africa16731%11
Americas8926%9
Asia6538%5
Europe30%1
Total32431%26
Source: UNCTAD TRAINFORTRADE.

Capacity building entrenched in the results-based management

All TRAINFORTRADE activities follow the results-based management principle linked to average score and satisfaction rate. TRAINFORTRADE enjoys very high and stable levels of these indicators (see table 4). Between 2017 and 2021, 6 321 participants received certificates after having completed their courses and passed online exams (46 per cent female). The average score obtained by participants was 78 per cent. The satisfaction rate reported by participants was also very high, at 89 per cent.

Table 4. TRAINFORTRADE certificates, average score and satisfaction rate, 2017-2021
Year(s)Total participants certifiedProportion femaleAverage scoreSatisfaction rate
201757839%78%89%
201839744%78%87%
20191 43151%78%89%
20201 38845%79%89%
20212 52747%79%90%
2017-20216 32146%78%89%
Source: UNCTAD TRAINFORTRADE.
Notes: Proportion female and satisfaction rate based on activities that have those figures recorded. For some courses, a low certification rate does not reflect participants failing their tests, but rather not being able to attend the course due to various constraints.

Testimonials

E-commerce has become a trend even before the pandemic. TRAINFORTRADE’s course opened my mind on the why’s and how’s of being in this modern world utilizing e-commerce and the digital world.Mary Louise Macalino, Acting Division Manager, Philippine Ports Authority (2021)
I got great detailed information on compiling the trade statistics and the rules that you have to take into account. It was also very interesting to know how other countries compile data and how they implement rules to have quality figures.Ines Maria Silva Correia, Statistician, Centrale Bank of Curaçao (2021)
The experience that I carry with me from the TRAINFORTRADE trainings is the networking and exchange of knowledge with other great port professionals.Jacqueline Paredes Corrales, Head of social development, Matarani Port, Peru (2021)
I learned the importance of quality metadata, timely dissemination and also the international recommendations on international merchandise trade statistics.Malinshyo Chisenga, Accounting Specialist at SVAS International, Tanzania (2021)

For additional testimonials, see the TRAINFORTRADE testimonials -—
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Notes

  1. As some persons participate in more than one course, the number of participants does not equal the number of individuals.

References

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