Exploring the impact, effectiveness and future of Aid for Trade

Aid for Trade (AfT) accounts for about a third of all overseas development assistance. ODI has been engaged in shaping its direction since before the launch in 2005 to help developing countries improve their trade capacity and address the impact of trade preference erosion. Since 2005, biennial global reviews of AfT held in Geneva have monitored the progress thus far.

The fourth Global AfT Review, 8 – 10 July 2013 in Geneva, could be transformative for the AfT agenda. The concept of AfT has been evolving with changing needs and demands. Aid is under stress due to the economic crisis in traditional donor countries, while non-aid flows have been increasing. There are more non-traditional actors supplying AfT. In these changing circumstances, what should be the future agenda of AfT?

Together with DIE and ECDPM the International Economic Development Group at the Overseas Development Institute has been studying Aid for Trade – what works, why and in what circumstances – since 2005. The main research has been funded under Development Progress.  But we have also undertaken recent research on AfT for the Asian Development Bank, African Development Bank, UNIDO, Commonwealth Secretariat and International Center for Trade and Sustainable Development. We have also advised DFID and UNDP on AfT programming at the country level.


The future of Aid for Trade at the World Trade Organization

Panel | 4 December 2013 12:45 - 14:15 GMT+01 (BST)
​At the Bali Trade and Development Symposium which took place on the sidelines of the Ninth World Trade Organization (WTO) Ministerial Conference, this panel session asked how the Aid for Trade initiative can be reinvigorated so that it responds to changes and...
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A role for Aid for Trade in development post-Bali

Articles and blogs | 3 December 2013 | Dirk Willem te Velde
'It is clear from our research that AfT can be seen as a successful initiative in promoting resources – one that owes much to the leadership of organisations and individuals in developed and developing countries.'
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Aid for Trade facilitation goes beyond cutting red-tape

Articles and blogs | 3 December 2013 | Marie-Agnes Jouanjean
'An agreement on red tape, as being negotiated at the WTO under its Trade Facilitation banner, is only the beginning. Deeper commitments by governments, perhaps with the help of donors through Aid for Trade, are needed to make trade easier and investment in Global...
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Future directions for Aid for Trade

Research reports and studies | November 2013 | Yurendra Basnett
This report questions the future direction for the Aid for Trade (AfT), recommending that for the initiative to become more effective it must narrow its focus. The report suggests that Aid for Trade should concentrate on helping developing countries trade by building...

Assessing Aid for Trade: effectiveness, current issues and future directions

Books or book chapters | August 2013 | Dirk Willem te Velde and Mohammad A Razzaque
This volume, comprising 16 chapters prepared by 20 renowned experts from a range of international organisations, think tanks and academic institutions, including Commonwealth Secretariat, ODI, ECDPM, DIE, ICTSD, Saana Consulting, WTI Advisors, and Columbia University,...

Policy dialogue on aid for trade

Conference | 16 - 17 January 2013

This conference will discuss how Aid for Trade can remain relevant for its purpose by delivering and managing aid for trade and development results; easing the binding constraints to trade expansion; promoting regional aid for...

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Taking stock of Aid for Trade

Articles and blogs | 21 July 2011 | Yurendra Bassnet

The 3rd Global Review of Aid for Trade took place in Geneva this week. ODI Research Fellow Yurendra Bassnet summarises the verdict and highlights ongoing challenges in this ODI blog post.

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Aid for Trade in Small and Vulnerable Economies

Briefing papers | April 2009 | Massimiliano Calì and Dirk Willem te Velde

This issue of Commonwealth Trade Hot Topics focuses on a specific group of developing countries – small and vulnerable economies (SVEs) – which has largely been neglected in the AfT debate, despite the special challenges these countries faced in their...


The potential impact of the Aid for Trade initiative

Working and discussion papers | March 2007 | Sheila Page

The Aid for Trade initiative marked international acceptance of the limitations of trade as a tool for development and of a role for the WTO in aid. Although many in developing countries would gain from a WTO settlement, there are small gains or even costs for...


Regional Aid for Trade

Working and discussion papers | January 2007 | Dirk Willem te Velde

Aid for trade was brought into sharp focus in the current World Trade Organization (WTO) Doha Round trade negotiations, though not part of the single undertaking. Aid for trade is concerned with helping developing countries totrade or adjust to trade...


Aid for Trade: a New Issue in the WTO

Working and discussion papers | January 2007 | Sheila Page

This paper will first review what types of aid would meet WTO-related needs, and the types needed more broadly to help countries use trade as part of their development strategies. Secondly, it will consider how to decide which needs and which countries or...


The financial architecture of aid for trade

Research reports and studies | March 2006 | Sheila Page, Lauren Phillips, Massimiliano Calì, Dirk Willem te Velde and Sven Grimm

This report reviews what meanings that would be useful from a trade point of view might be given to Aid for Trade (A4T), and some of the aid general principles which any scheme should take into account.


A Critical Assessment of the EU's Trade-Related Assistance (TRA) to third countries – lessons from the past, policy options for the future

Research reports and studies | February 2006 | Dirk Willem te Velde, Adrian Hewitt, Massimiliano Calì and Sheila Page

This paper discusses the rationale for trade-related assistance (TRA) (support for Trade Policy and Regulation, Trade Development, Adjustment to Trade, Supply Side Measures), and the role of the EC in this. It provides an overview of EC TRA on the basis of a...


Trade and Aid: Partners or Rivals in Development Policy?

Public event | 8 February 2006 13:00 - 15:00 GMT+00

This meeting saw the launch of a new book, Trade and Aid, Partners or Rivals in Development Policy? edited by Sheila Page. The discussion examined our current understanding of how aid and trade work, and assessed current policy initiatives.

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