Global conference in Accra: Making the shift to sustainable trade

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GENEVA / ACCRA, (ITC News) – While small businesses are a cornerstone for economies everywhere, the pandemic has shown just how critical they are. Many supply chains have been disrupted as these firms struggled to survive.

Business resilience to shocks is a concern, with climate change and food security crises on the horizon.

Trade and investment promotion organizations around the world will meet in Accra on 17-18 May to explore Bold Solutions for Resilience and Recovery, the theme of this year’s conference.

Firms that are more resilient to crisis often tap the services of these national trade bodies to build resilience to carry them through challenging times.

The 2022 World Trade Promotion Conference (WTPO) will be hosted by the Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA) and the International Trade Centre (ITC), a development agency of the United Nations and the World Trade Organization that connects small business to global markets. It brings together 200 leaders of national trade promotion organizations from around the world.

‘Good trade can drive socio-economic recovery that is inclusive and sustainable,’ says Pamela Coke-Hamilton, ITC executive director. ‘Trade promotion organizations can make all the difference in helping companies achieve good trade. They must help businesses to mitigate risks and embrace opportunities of a green transition. They must help women, youth and vulnerable groups join global value chains, and overcome systemic barriers that keep them from developing their businesses for export.’

A resource for business: National trade promotion organizations

Companies are three times as likely to export when they work with business support organizations, according to ITC business surveys in 16 countries. Firms that had those relations in place before the COVID crisis also appeared to have better access to information and benefits, such as pandemic-related government assistance.

These organizations contribute directly to national economies. A study of European trade promotion organizations showed that for each dollar invested in these agencies, they generated an additional $87 in exports and an additional $384 for a country’s gross domestic product.

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