Annual conference on export opportunities for Southern African companies takes place in Rwanda

Annual conference on export opportunities for Southern African companies takes place in Rwanda

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

The third annual conference for Southern African users of the TRADE-DSM (Decision Support Model), an analytical tool that identifies export opportunities for companies, took place on 13 and 14 March in Rwanda. The event was organized by the TRADE research entity, directed by Professor Wilma Viviers from North-West University, South Africa, a member of the WTO Chairs Programme, and TRADE Advisory.
Topics discussed during the two-day conference included changing global trade patterns and realistic export opportunities as defined by the TRADE-DSM. The main features of the newly updated TRADE-DSM were presented to the participants. In addition, sessions were devoted to the topic of economic complexity (EC), specifically in relation to why certain countries are poor and others are rich, and which new industries are likely to emerge as drivers of growth. EC’s ability to predict future economic growth trends more accurately than conventional governance measures was a source of particular interest to the delegates.

Delegates also had the opportunity of sharing their statistical data requirements with the rest of the group – which will assist the ongoing TRADE-DSM development work ‒ and of debating the role of a research department in the trade and investment world.

Delegates from institutions across the Southern African Customs Union attended. These included:

Botswana Investment and Trade Centre
Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries
North West Provincial Government Economy and Enterprise Development
North West Development Corporation
Limpopo Department of Economic Development, Environment and Tourism
Limpopo Economic Development Agency
Mpumalanga Economic Growth Agency
Eastern Cape Department of Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism
Mpumalanga Department of Economic Development and Tourism
Limpopo Provincial Treasury
Southern African Customs Union Secretariat
North-West University School of Business.

TRADE and TRADE Advisory conduct regular workshops for users of the TRADE-DSM, including national and provincial government bodies in South Africa and trade promotion bodies in other southern African countries. These workshops are aimed at enabling users to take full advantage of the TRADE-DSM while delving into the economics and logistics of international trade, thus broadening users’ understanding of the complexities of operating at a global level.

Expanding and diversifying its exports has become an urgent priority for the government of Rwanda, a country that has been attracting increasing international attention for the pace of its economic reforms and its outward-looking approach to trade and foreign direct investment. In an initiative driven by the International Growth Centre at the London School of Economics, TRADE has been assisting the country with its market expansion efforts, using the TRADE-DSM, a new approach endorsed by the WTO to identify and prioritise high-potential export opportunities.