JITAP: A Partnership for Trade
Development in Africa
The new Multilateral Trading System
that emerged from the Uruguay Round of trade agreements poses
significant challenges, but can open up new vistas for trade of
African countries. JITAP - the Joint Integrated Technical Assistance
Programme - mobilizes the expertise and support of the World Trade
Organization (WTO), the United Nations Conference on Trade and
Development (UNCTAD) and the International Trade Centre (ITC) to
help African country partners benefit from the new Multilateral
Trading System. JITAP is the first program that the three
organizations have established to deliver jointly a broad range of
selected technical assistance inputs to a number of countries
simultaneously, focusing mainly on capacity building.
In a first stage, eight countries participate in JITAP: Benin,
Burkina-Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Kenya, Tunisia, Uganda, and the
United Republic of Tanzania. Four are LDCs. A group of eight new
countries was added: Botswana, Cameroon, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania,
Mozambique, Senegal and Zambia Thirteen donors are contributing to
the funding of the programme, currently amounting to US$10 million.
African Trade Ministers,
meeting in Tunis in October 1994, called on the international community to
help strengthen their capacity to:
Participate in the World
Integrate into the new
Multilateral Trading System.
Take advantage of new trade
opportunities arising from the globalization of world markets.
Following the meeting in
Tunis, WTO’s Director General and ITC’s Executive Director visited African
countries to meet with Heads of State, key government ministers and with
private sector representatives. Officials in these countries stressed the
need for trade-related technical assistance (TRTA).
During the UNCTAD IX conference in Midrand, South Africa (May 1996) the
heads of WTO, UNCTAD and ITC announced their commitment to develop a joint
programme to help meet the needs expressed by these countries. The three
organizations carried out a thorough needs assessment in the eight partner
countries during 1996-97. They jointly identified priority needs and
prepared national technical assistance projects to meet these needs.
Critical needs were similar in all countries, as were the programme
activities that addressed them. When in March 1998 the three organizations
set up with donors a Common Trust Fund to mobilize donor support, the
individual projects were transformed into the JITAP programme and
implementation was initiated. Today, thirteen donors contribute to the
Common Trust Fund.
Meeting the needs of partner
JITAP enhances development
opportunities of African country partners, through their more effective
participation in the Multilateral Trading System (MTS). Its activities aim
to meet the most pressing needs of the eight countries, corresponding to
the needs expressed at the Tunis ministerial meeting. JITAP’s three
objectives are to:
Build national capacity to
understand the evolving MTS and its implications for external trade.
Adapt the national trading
system to the obligations and disciplines of the new MTS.
Seek maximum advantage from
the new MTS by enhancing the readiness of exporters.
The objective of JITAP II
is to build and strengthen the capacity of selected African countries to
integrate into the Multilateral Trading System (MTS). More specifically,
capacity in partner countries is to built or strengthened in three main
implementation of WTO agreements, and related trade policy formulation
National knowledge base on
Supply capacity and market
knowledge of exporting and export-ready enterprises to derive benefit from
business opportunities presented by trade liberalization under the
Like its predecessor, JITAP
II will be implemented jointly by ITC, UNCTAD and WTO in an integrated
manner, in cooperation with the beneficiary countries and with support
from the donor community.
Implementation and management
Coordination at national
As in JITAP I, for each country coordination among participating
institutions at national level is promoted through National Steering
Committees. Technical counterparts in each country carry out
implementation of JITAP projects within this framework. A national focal
point is identified in the ministry responsible for international trade.
Typical counterparts include the Directorate for International Trade in
the Ministry of Commerce, trade promotion organizations, chambers of
commerce and industry and local academic institutions.
The programme coordination from Geneva
In Geneva, a steering group comprising senior representatives from UNCTAD,
WTO and ITC, the donors and partner countries provides guidance for the
JITAP programme. Day-to-day management is handled by designated focal
point officers of ITC, UNCTAD, and WTO working in close cooperation.
A Programme Coordination Unit operates from Geneva covering all partner
countries. Its role is to coordinate technical inputs and assist
individual countries in implementing activities, facilitating interaction
between Geneva and the participating countries.
JITAP is first and foremost
programme. Its distinctive features are:
Joint participation of the
three Geneva organizations to the full extent of needs assessment and
Establishment of national
networks of trainers and experts in WTO-related issues.
Communication and Discussion Facility that will enhance networking among
partner countries and between them and the Geneva-based organizations.
A single or generic
programme with activities to address critical common needs, based on
individual country needs and responses.
Organization of scores of
implementation actions in “Modules” of programme elements, with each
Module covering all partner countries.
across all eight countries, Module-by-Module jointly by ITC, UNCTAD and
WTO. This is the first practical arrangement in which the three
organizations are working towards realizing a common goal.
These features are designed
among partner countries; among the
Geneva-based organizations; and between the two groups, as well as
synergies among programme activities. They are also designed to ensure
efficient use of
, through economies of scale and scope in
management and programme implementation;
networking and other capacity-building features; and
of the JITAP programme in other countries, should it be decided to expand
the programme. Avery important feature is the role of JITAP as a framework
for catalyzing other trade-related technical assistance, including those
under the Integrated Framework.
The Programme is based on a
among the executing
organizations and the participating countries, with a close supervision of
the donor countries on the progress made and outstanding issues. As much
as possible, it favours using national human resources to undertake the
planned activities, including the experts and trainers trained under the
programme itself. JITAP also promotes networking as a guarantee for the
sustainability of the capacity built. The institutional support is also
part of the programme priorities, namely in the form of setting up
Reference Centres and strengthening the Inter-Institutional Committees (IICs)
as frameworks to coordinate MTS issues in the countries, and to prepare
Five Modules of JITAP
Module 1: MTS Institutional support, Compliance, Policies and
Module 2: Strengthening MTS Reference Centre, and NEPs on TBT and SPS
Module 3: Enhancing MTS knowledge and Networks
Module 4: Product and Services Sector Strategies
Module 5: Networking and Programme Synergy.
Bringing partners together
In responding to the
challenge of realising the vast potential for synergies among the hundreds
of partners involved in the programme, JITAP has developed a Communication
and Discussion Facility (CDF). This Internet-based solution allows for
cost-effective communication ranging from on-line discussions and
implementation updates, to the retrieval of relevant technical
documentation about the programme. The CDF also makes available
programme-related information to the general public. It is accessible on
In responding to the challenge of realising the vast potential for
synergies among the hundreds of partners involved in the programme, JITAP
has developed a Communication and Discussion Facility (CDF). This
internet-based solution allows for cost-effective communication ranging
from on-line discussions and implementation updates, to the retrieval of
relevant documentation. The CDF also makes available programme-related
information to the general public.
The Programme is
funded through a Common Trust Fund (CTF) supported by a number of donor
countries. The CTF is composed of two windows: Window one, where funds are
contributed by donors to support programme development, generic activities
and activities in countries facing shortage of resources; and Window two,
where contributions are ear-marked for specific countries. The activities are only
implemented when the resources are made available in cash to the three
executing organizations. Most partner countries have contributed to the
programme activities in the form of counterpart funding.
evaluation was undertaken for JITAP in August-September 2000. The evaluation
mission commended the conceptual framework of the programme and described as
a trend-setting programme for trade related technical assistance in the
aftermath of the Uruguay round and globalization of the world economy. It
was also described as an effective framework for catalyzing initiatives on
other TRTA initiatives. The evaluation confirmed that the programme was
building capacity in the partner countries for participating actively in the
evolving multilateral trading system. It recommended that the programme be
consolidated during the period 2001-2002, and subsequently extended to a new
group of countries. Currently, more than twenty five countries are
requesting to be associated with the programme.
A summative evaluation was undertaken between February and May 2002 by a
team of two international evaluators and a national external evaluator in
each participating country. The evaluation also examined the MTS-related
capacity in two non-participating countries as benchmarking cases, to assess
the progress made towards the objectives of the programme. The CTF Steering
Group reviewed the conclusions and recommendations of the summative
evaluation in June 2002.
The CTF Steering Group Meeting appreciated the extensive findings and
recommendations of the evaluation mission. The group concurred with the
overall conclusion that JITAP makes an important contribution to raising
awareness and developing capacities in the beneficiary countries for
managing their integration into the multilateral trading system (MTS).
On 19 December 2002, the JITAP Common Trust Fund Steering Group (CTF SG) met
in Geneva and endorsed the JITAP II Programme Document, effectively
extending the programme for another four years (2003-2006) and expanding it
to eight new countries, i.e. Botswana, Cameroon (non-LDCs) and Malawi, Mali,
Mauritania, Mozambique, Senegal and Zambia (LDCs). In this respect, several
donors pledged substantial support to the programme. In total, sixteen
African countries will be covered under JITAP II.
The CTF Steering Group agreed on a set of criteria for starting work in
JITAP countries under the new phase:
of the countries’ interest in benefiting from JITAP;
The readiness to
allocate counterpart resources, both human and financial in the form of
budgetary allocations to support activities to be initiated under the
The setting up of
a JITAP National Steering Committee (NSC) and the designation of a National
Focal Point for JITAP, with whom all contacts would be undertaken;
of an Inter-Institutional Committee on the WTO; and
The commitment to
the mainstreaming of trade as an instrument for poverty reduction.
JITAP is a new type of partnership between WTO, UNCTAD, ITC, the
participating countries and the donors that presents a solid vehicle for
providing MTS-related support and allows seizing the vast opportunities made
available by the emerging Multilateral Trading System.
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