The SmartLessons Competition was launched in 2016 in collaboration with the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement Facility (TFAF)*. This specialist competition invited all WTO member countries to share their experiences and lessons learned (both successes and challenges) in implementing trade facilitation reforms to align with the measures outlined in the WTO TFA.
Extensive research demonstrates the large potential gains to developing countries from sound investments in trade facilitation. Tackling some of the key barriers that constrain traders in developing countries will result in increased bilateral trade, greater export diversification, enhanced foreign investment and improved national competitiveness.
Implementation of the TFA is a “win-win” for all countries, according to the WEF, full and effective implementation of the TFA could add 4.7% to global GDP. However, the benefits fall disproportionality to developing countries as their traders typically face significantly higher costs that reduce their capacity to compete in regional and international markets.
Full and effective implementation is critical to ensure the benefits of the TFA can be realized. Sharing experiences and learning from each other is an ideal mechanism to create global, regional and national networks to ensure continuous improvement and sustainability of reform.
A total of 13 submissions were received from member countries on a variety of topics. Some of these topics include: the establishment of National Trade Facilitation Committees; the development of Single Windows and Trade Portals; and the effective implementation of Risk Management.
A panel of judges both from the World Bank Group and WTO evaluated the SmartLessons and shortlisted to six finalists: Botswana, Jamaica, Malawi, Montenegro, Rwanda, and Zambia.
Each finalist has been invited to present their respective case studies in an informal TED-style session moderated by the World Bank Group and WTO. Join us live via Facebook to watch the presentations.
This is the first in a series of SmartLessons competitions that will follow in the coming three to five years. A SmartBook, a compilation of the best SmartLessons, will be published after the competition and serve as a quick reference guide for other WTO member countries.
*SmartLessons are short papers which provide first-hand accounts of lessons learned in development operations