Lessons from the Commonwealth

2310-1970 (online)
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The ‘Lessons from the Commonwealth’ series draws directly on the experience of the Commonwealth Secretariat and its work with Commonwealth member governments. The titles in the series share, with policy-makers and researchers in all Commonwealth countries and throughout the world, lessons learned from our work on a range of key issues in development and democracy.

Implementing a National Export Strategy

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Isaac Njoroge
01 July 2010
9781848590700 (PDF)

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At its best, strategic planning for an export strategy combines learning from the past, exploring the future and coping with unpredictability. This handbook explains how the Commonwealth Secretariat helps countries develop national export strategies with a clear purpose, strategies that are actionoriented, and which recognise the interrelationship between technological, economic, social, political and cultural aspects of society. It will be useful for all government economic planners, particularly in developing countries, who are concerned to learn from experience in developing and implementing national export strategies as part of the drive for national economic development.

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  • Foreword

    The Commonwealth Secretariat works as a trusted partner for all Commonwealth people as a force for peace, democracy, equality and good governance. It is a catalyst for global consensus building and a source of assistance for sustainable development and poverty eradication.

  • Preface

    This handbook draws on the experiences of the Commonwealth Secretariat in delivering technical assistance to Member States in the area of export development. Three approaches have been used to deliver this assistance. One approach has been to engage a consultant on a short-term basis to provide support to a member country in producing a framework for export development. Another has been to engage a consultant to work with a member country on a more long-term basis, usually two years, during which time an export development plan is produced and the first phase of its implementation is achieved. From the beginning of 2006, a third and now more preferred approach was adopted. This approach involves the technical staff at the Commonwealth Secretariat working closely with stakeholders in member countries in addressing the impediments to export competitiveness and developing strategies to improve export performance. The output of this exercise is the national export strategy document. Sometimes, but not always, the Secretariat engages an external consultant to provide support for the exercise.

  • The Concept of Strategy

    A strategy is both a road and a vehicle. It is a road because a clear route is required to get from the current situation to the desired situation. It is a vehicle because it provides a practical means of getting to the destination.

  • The NES Process

    In order to take advantage of the opportunities provided by the new global trading environment, countries need to formulate policies and initiatives that focus on facilitating trade and improving competitiveness.

  • Technical Assistance and Strategy Development

    Technical assistance is generally defined as any form of aid given to less developed countries by international organisations such as the United Nations and its agencies, individual governments, foundations and philanthropic institutions. The objective of technical assistance is to provide those countries with the expertise needed to promote economic development. More specifically, the World Bank defines technical assistance as the transfer of ideas, practices, knowledge, technologies or skills with the objective of fostering economic development. Technical assistance is classified according to the function it performs, for example, policy or institutional development, capacity building or programme support. National export strategy projects fall under the category of ‘capacity building’.

  • Country Experiences

    In 2008, the Commonwealth Secretariat commissioned an independent evaluation of all NES projects. The review found the projects ‘to be worthwhile and an initiative that should be continued subject to continued demand from developing country member states’ (Record and Mtonya 2008).

  • Capacity Building

    The UN Development Programme (UNDP) has defined capacity as ‘the ability of individuals, institutions and societies to perform functions, solve problems, and set and achieve objectives in a sustainable manner’ (UNDP 2006).

  • Change and Challenges

    The goal of a development project is to bring about change through technically sound programmes that are supported within a country by champions of reform. These may be individuals or institutions and they are often referred to as ‘key drivers of change’.

  • References and Index
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