Norway supports least-developed countries with a financial contribution

WTO Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and Norway's WTO Ambassador Petter Ølberg.
WTO Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and Norway's WTO Ambassador Petter Ølberg. Photo: WTO.

The government of Norway has contributed CHF 1.2 million (NOK 14.7 million) to help least-developed countries (LDCs) sustain the progress they have achieved with the support of the Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF).

This is the first instalment of the NOK 20 million (approximately CHF 1.7 million) that Norway has pledged to the newly established EIF Interim Facility, which has been set up to bridge the gap between the end of Phase Two of the EIF and the establishment of a new multilateral support mechanism for LDCs.

First contributor

Norway’s pledge was confirmed at a ceremony attended by WTO Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and Norway’s WTO Ambassador Petter Ølberg on 12 February at the WTO. The WTO LDC Group Coordinator, Ambassador Kadra Hassan of Djibouti, and the EIF Executive Director, Ratnakar Adhikari, also took part in the ceremony.

DG Okonjo-Iweala said: “We are delighted that Norway has stepped forward as the first contributor to the EIF Interim Facility, which will ensure that the EIF continues to function until the end of 2024. We are very grateful for this crucial support to a Facility that holds significant importance for the LDCs. It is our hope that with this contribution, ongoing projects will reach completion and be seen to fruition. Our sincere thanks go to Norway for this generous donation of CHF 1.7 million.”

Trade environment for sustainable growth

Norway’s contribution to the EIF Interim Facility will help to enhance the trade environment for inclusive and sustainable growth in LDCs, helping to boost these countries’ exports and access to international markets. Discussions are ongoing in a taskforce at the WTO around a future multilateral Aid for Trade support mechanism for LDCs.

“Norway is pleased to be the first donor to contribute to the EIF Interim Facility. The Facility will bridge the gap between EIF Phase Two and the next multilateral Aid for Trade mechanism dedicated to LDCs,” said Ambassador Ølberg. “The Interim Facility was efficiently established together with our EIF partners, with well-balanced projected development gains that build on the work done during the programme’s Phase Two. We must preserve the momentum and continuity in LDCs that work hard to develop their trade strategies. I hope this commitment can inspire other donors to join us in supporting this vital initiative.”

Ambassador Hassan stated: “The LDC Group deeply appreciates the Facility’s support in addressing the critical needs and diverse trade priorities outlined in the Doha Programme of Action for LDCs. The Facility’s catalytic operations will play a crucial role in sustaining the progress achieved through the EIF programme in each LDC. We are grateful for the Facility’s demand-driven approach and commend its commitment to cost effectiveness as well as its agility and flexibility. We call on additional donors to contribute to the Facility, so as to reinforce our collective efforts towards strengthening LDCs’ integration into the multilateral trading system and achieving sustainable development.”

Unique partnership

Norway has contributed a total of approximately CHF 42.4 million to the EIF-led programmes since 2007, including this new pledge to the EIF Interim Facility.

The EIF is the only global Aid for Trade initiative dedicated exclusively to empowering LDCs to use trade as an engine for sustainable economic growth development and poverty reduction. It is a unique global partnership between LDCs, donors and partner agencies — including the WTO — which work together to build trade capacity in LDCs.

Further information on the EIF is available here and  here.