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TDNet — Trade and Development Training, Research and Policy Network

All developing countries are confronted today with the ever-growing importance of policy and trade negotiations. ACP countries in particular progressively see the need to be prepared to participate in regional integration initiatives and trade negotiations as key ingredients of their own development strategy. However, they face serious capacity gaps for the design and implementation of sound trade and development policies, as the pool of experts able to inform policy processes and negotiations is too small. Although in recent years new post-graduate programmes in trade law and economics have been set up and the number of training centres focused on trade policy and negotiations has been growing, these initiatives too often remain isolated and are not sufficient to provide a bridge to the policy process and dialogue.

The project addresses interrelated difficulties that render many ACP countries unprepared and uninformed when it comes to formulating trade and development policy. It will do so by enhancing the capacity of five East and Southern African (ESA) universities to provide quality training and carry out policy-relevant research on current trade and development issues. The ultimate goal is to not only contribute to improved policymaking on trade and development in ACP countries, but also, simultaneously and as a result, to contribute to strengthened regional integration and integration into the world economy, and to sustainable development and poverty reduction.

Specifically, the project will improve the quality and relevance of study programmes focusing on trade and development, reinforce inter-university ties, promote collaborative research on trade and development and bridge the gap between academics and policy makers, establishing new linkages and fostering dialogue.

project templates

Capacity Building through training, joint research, common curricula and networking

Intensive training courses: TDNet targets HEI teaching staff, students and researchers, who will be offered training on relevant topics in trade and development focusing on Qualitative and Quantitative Aspects of Trade Integration, Development and Policy Processes, in line with the needs identified by academic staff.

The network will create common curricula to be integrated into study programmes. Material will be brought together from the intensive training courses and from existing lessons that partners will share with one another using the network website. Materials may also be taken from the modules taught by visiting lecturers, who are scheduled to teach at each partner ESA university, giving students the chance to study topics that may not otherwise be offered at their university, contributing to the comprehensiveness of courses and allowing for a diversity of viewpoints.

The network will encourage dialogue between the academic and policymaking worlds. Partners will collaboratively carry out research and formulate policy-relevant papers. By working together and pooling their strengths, universities in the region can build a body of research that is at the disposal of decision makers. Students will be offered traineeships, which will expose them to trade and development policy making in practice and offer them the chance to carry out research and create policy briefs. Finally, a large multistakeholder conference will be held toward the end of the action.


Project Coordinator University of Pavia
  • Addis Ababa University, Etiopia
  • University of Nairobi, Kenya
  • University of Mauritius, Mauritius
  • Catholic University of Bukavu, DR Congo
  • Trade Policy Training Centre in Africa, Tanzania
  • Radboud University, The Netherlands
Duration 36 months

Prof Gianni Vaggi

Via S. Felice, 7

Pavia 27100


Tel: +39 0382 986222

+39 0382 984241

Email: gianni.vaggi@unipv.it

Enhanced capacities to formulate strategies, design policies and participate in the international trade processes

The project will enhance the capacity of ESA HEIs in the field of trade and development by improving the quality of teaching, building up the quality and number of courses on offer and also promoting timely and relevant collaborative research that can be used as a basis for policy making. The network will foster dialogue between HEIs and trade and development decision makers in the hope of contributing to making trade an effective instrument for promoting sustainable development. Indeed, the increased quality, quantity and relevance of trade and development research and policy advice will benefit ACP governments and their ability to set endogenous economic development agendas, formulate effective trade strategies and implement commitments, leading to improved trade policies and an active role for their respective countries in regional and international trade processes.


EU funding: EUR 451.144,00
Total budget: EUR 530.758,00
Project contact:

Prof. Gianni Vaggi

Universita' di Pavia
Via S. Felice, 7
Pavia 27100

Tel: +39 0382 986222
+39 0382 984241
Email: gianni.vaggi@unipv.it

Laura Danieli