Austria gives EUR 200,000 to boost developing countries’ trade expertise via chairs network

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

The government of Austria has contributed EUR 200,000 (CHF 215,000) in 2022 to the Global Trust Fund to support the new phase of the WTO Chairs Programme, an initiative aimed at supporting trade-related academic activities in developing countries and least-developed countries (LDCs).
Under this capacity-building programme, partner institutions receive financial and technical support from the WTO for trade-related research, curriculum development and outreach activities. The Programme helps to develop the capacity of academic institutions to advise governments and key stakeholders on trade policy issues.

Following a call for applications for Phase 3 of the Programme issued in December 2020, over 120 applications were received by the WTO. A selection process resulted in 17 institutions being chosen to join the Chairs Programme. This further diversifies the Programme's representation across the globe, with the network now comprising 36 universities. The Programme has generated strong links with government policy makers, business stakeholders and research institutions within a network of universities in all continents.
Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said: “I thank Austria for supporting trade policy research in academic institutions and for helping to build bridges between academics and government officials responsible for formulating and implementing trade policies. This support will help to improve understanding of the multilateral trading system and the role it plays in boosting economic growth and reducing poverty.”
Austria's Federal Minister for Digital and Economic Affairs Margarete Schramböck stated: “Enhancing the trade-related expertise of academic institutions is of utmost importance for strengthening the understanding of trade issues in developing and least-developed countries. Recognizing the important role the WTO plays in this initiative, Austria believes that keeping markets open and promoting a level playing field in multilateral trade can strongly contribute to boosting economic growth and jobs in these countries, for the ultimate benefit of all.”