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Aid for trade initiative boosted with €5 million agreement

11 July 2017

African, Caribbean and Pacific countries are to benefit from the extension of an innovative aid for trade initiative which embeds trade advisers in national ministries and regional organisations.

The Hub and Spokes programme is a joint initiative of the Commonwealth Secretariat, European Union, ACP Group Secretariat and Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie.

A signing ceremony marking the launch of the next phase of the programme was held on Tuesday 11 July 2017 at the headquarters of the World Trade Organization in Geneva by leading representatives of the four organisations.

Paulo Kautoke, Director of Trade at the Commonwealth Secretariat, who inked the agreement on behalf of Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland, said: “The programme is an emanation of the Aid for Trade Initiative and indeed has been instrumental all the way through in fostering the inclusiveness of the ACP in the global trading system.”

The capacity-building support offered to African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) regions is especially important as national ministries with limited resources grapple with a host of regional, continental and multilateral trade negotiations, he added.

“Trade needs to deliver on the development promises for the people in our countries and regions. The advisers’ role in the successful implementation of trade agreements are critical in that respect,” said Mr Kautoke.

At the signing ceremony, European Union Commissioner Neven Mimica said the European Commission was delighted to support the initiative. “The Hub and Spokes Programme in its 14 years of existence has become a reference for connectivity while promoting trade and inclusiveness," he said.

The Hub and Spokes Programme began in 2004. The ambitious next phase will extend it until at least February 2019.

Through the initiative, 10 regional trade advisers, or ‘hubs’, and 32 national trade advisers, or ‘spokes’, are currently deployed in ACP countries. These include six regional advisers and 16 national advisers managed by the Commonwealth Secretariat.

In 2016 alone, the trade advisers are estimated to have aided more than 5,000 national and regional stakeholders and helped to draft a range of trade policies, for example delivering Fiji’s first ever national trade policy and helping the country to become a Pacific trading and investment hub.

During the signing ceremony, ACP Assistant Secretary-General Viwanou Gnassounou said the ACP is glad to support the implementation of agreements in this consolidation phase.

To kick-start the next phase, 40 of the programme’s main stakeholders including 16 trade advisers, took part in a workshop in Barbados between 22 and 23 May 2017. Read more.

Notes to Editors:

For more information on the programme and to read case studies from the Hub and Spokes programme, please visit:

Requests to interview national and regional Hub and Spokes advisers can be directed to w.henley@commonwealth.int

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