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Aid for Trade at a Glance 2019

Economic Diversification and Empowerment

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This edition analyses how trade can contribute to economic diversification and empowerment, with a focus on eliminating extreme poverty, particularly through the effective participation of women and youth. It shows how aid for trade can contribute to that objective by addressing supply-side capacity and trade-related infrastructure constraints, including for micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises notably in rural areas.

The analysis is based on the views of 133 respondents – 88 developing countries, 35 donors, 5 providers of South-South trade-related support and 5 regional organisations – who participated in the 2019 aid-for-trade monitoring and evaluation exercise. They share the view that economic diversification is a gateway for economic empowerment, but also that empowerment is essential for economic diversification particularly when it enables youth, women and micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises to engage in international trade.

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Emerging lessons from aid for trade in support of women’s economic empowerment

This chapter examines how donors are taking into account gender perspectives in aid for trade, as women’s economic empowerment is one of the key drivers of sustainable development. It introduces data showing that donors have been increasing gender-responsive aid for trade. At the same time, there is scope for improvement, particularly in sectors such as transport, energy, finance and business, mining and industry, where the proportion of gender-responsive aid is low. Good examples by a few donors are therefore highlighted to provide lessons to others that are facing challenges in taking account of gender perspectives in these areas. They reveal that many projects entail training of women as government officials or as project beneficiaries, particularly for income generation. Other activities include studies or development of project designs that are gender-responsive in the particular area. Given the Joint Declaration on Trade and Women’s Economic Empowerment, donors need to build the evidence base, establish an adequate monitoring and evaluation system, and ensure accountability towards women’s economic empowerment.

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