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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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Setting the scene

Economic diversification and economic empowerment embody the rationale for the Aid for Trade Initiative. This chapter discusses insights emerging from the joint OECD-WTO monitoring and evaluation (M&E) exercise which in 2019 focused on surveying these two themes. The starting point for the analysis is the divergence in the number of merchandise products and services exported by countries at different levels of development, at different levels of income and in different geographical circumstances. Against this background, economic and export diversification emerges from the M&E exercise as a core objective of the trade and development policies of partner countries, particularly least developed countries (LDCs) and landlocked developing countries (LLDCs).

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