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New phase for hub and spokes trade initiative launched at Barbados workshop
Published on May 23, 2017Email To Friend    Print Version

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BRIDGETOWN, Barbados -- An innovative trade initiative that is expanding opportunities for business, employment and prosperity in African, Caribbean and Pacific countries will be extended to February 2019.

The hub and spokes programme is a joint initiative of the European Union, ACP Group Secretariat, Commonwealth Secretariat and Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie. Through the programme, trade advisers are placed in government ministries and regional organisations to provide support and build local capacity to develop trade policies.

To kick-start the ambitious next phase of the aid for trade programme, 40 of the programme’s main stakeholders, including 16 trade advisers, are gathering for a workshop in Bridgetown, Barbados, between 22 and 23 May.

As 2017 is shaping up to be an uncertain year for global trade, the workshop comes at a time when economic and political unpredictability is being felt all across the globe. The two-day event will see participants review the changing trade landscape, exchange best practices and establish a sustainable foundation for the design of national and regional trade policies.

Commenting, Commonwealth deputy secretary-general Deodat Maharaj said the Caribbean workshop presents an ideal opportunity to learn from regional experiences to ensure that developing countries and small and vulnerable states are not left behind.

Maharaj said: “The Hub and Spokes programme is helping countries to use trade as a mechanism to advance human development and create prosperity. It has been an invaluable resource for Commonwealth member countries and in particular for small and capacity-constrained states. The work undertaken by these trade experts is second to none, ensuring that countries can effectively participate in global trade and that trade policies deliver on national development priorities.”

Chekou Oussouman, head of the Hub and Spokes programme at the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie (OIF) said: “The long-term technical assistance provided by the programme has given credibility to the partnership between the Commonwealth, OIF, EC [the European Commission] and the ACP Secretariat who have responded to requests from the ACP regions for the deployment of a network of high level advisers on trade policies.

“Beyond the reforms undertaken to make trade a lever for growth and successful structural transformation, several countries and regions have been involved in the ownership of the programme’s efforts and have also contributed to the financing of activities. Thus, the consolidation phase of the programme will enable key structuring activities to be transferred appropriately to the beneficiaries.”

The first stage of the programme, Hub and Spokes I, ran from 2004 to 2012. The second phase, Hub and Spokes II, will end on 27 May 2017. The new consolidation phase will extend the Hub and Spokes programme until at least February 2019.

Six regional advisers – the hubs – and 16 national advisers – the spokes – are currently deployed by the Commonwealth Secretariat under the programme. The Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie (OIF) has also deployed 4 hubs and 16 spokes in Africa, resulting in a total of 10 hubs and 32 spokes deployed under the programme.

In the Caribbean, advisers are placed in these countries and regional organisations: Belize, Guyana, Jamaica, St Vincent and the Grenadines, CARICOM Secretariat and OECS Secretariat.
 
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