Western and Central Africa
Eastern and Southern Africa
Eastern Europe and Central Asia
The need to generate sustainable employment through exports has become a central trade policy goal in many developing and developed countries in recent years. The forthcoming World Export Development Forum (WEDF) will focus on the integration of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in developing countries into global supply chains within the overall policy objective of employment generation. The event will take place against the backdrop of increased geographical fragmentation and segmentation of supply chains, reflecting the emergence of international production networks, growing trade in intermediate goods and ‘trade in tasks’. Upgrading the economy by keeping a growing proportion of value-adding processes along the supply chains in source countries is one of the foremost policy goals of governments in terms of foreign investment and export strategy. WEDF provides an ideal opportunity for knowledge sharing and showcasing of successful work in this area, as well as for launching new initiatives, influencing policy and networking with leaders. In the private sector, transnational corporations (TNCs) willing to source more from developing country SMEs often face difficulties both in terms of the business environment and the supply-side capacity of the SMEs. Challenges related to the business environment include legal and regulatory uncertainties as well as barriers to the seamless transfer of goods and services across the border. Supply-side constraints include lack of market information and skills, as well as limited access to finance, which make it difficult for SMEs to supply the required quality on time and in compliance with buyers’ standards. Bringing stakeholders from the same sector together to identify and address mismatches of expectations and jointly search for solutions goes a long way towards initiating new buyer-seller relationships. WEDF has become a key international forum at which business leaders, policymakers and trade support institutions are able to identify replicable solutions that enable them to improve access to supply chains for developing and emerging-economy SMEs. For more information, read the summary of WEDF 2012, 'Linking Growth Markets, New Dynamics in Global Trade'.