Press releases

Japan strengthens partnership with ITC to support Ukraine

18 March 2024
ITC News

(Abu Dhabi) The Government of Japan signed to release funding to support an International Trade Centre (ITC) project in Ukraine on the occasion of the 13th Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization.

Two years since the outbreak of the war, Ukraine’s society and economy are facing protracted challenges but are also showing strong signs of resilience. It is estimated that while 70% of Ukrainian businesses have been at least partially affected by the conflict, most have not closed down. In fact, a number of companies in eastern and southern Ukraine have re-established themselves in the western and central parts of the country.

The sharp decline in the domestic market is making Ukrainian companies more dependent on external markets through exports. While most sectors are shrinking, reports suggest signs of improvement in Ukraine’s information technology sector: Over the past year, the number of specialists has increased by 6%, with one in five technical professionals being a woman.

Building up digital skills

Building on this resilience and with a focus on recovery, ITC in collaboration with the Government of Japan is launching a new project to empower those displaced and affected by the war. The focus is on supporting small businesses across a variety of sectors to take advantage of digital opportunities to export, and on building the information technology skills of displaced persons, including women, to enable them to find work and new income streams. The project will also strengthen the overall business environment by building the capacity of national business support organizations to provide targeted services to exporting small businesses.

In 2023, ITC launched its first project to support Ukrainian communities affected by the war. The project, also funded by the Government of Japan, has strengthened the resilience and adaptability of Ukrainian businesses and workers amidst challenging times. Notably, the project has helped over 300 internally displaced persons to access remote work opportunities in the digital sector and integrate into host communities, and over 200 small businesses to benefit from e-commerce opportunities.

‘Small businesses play a key role in creating a sense of stability in fragile contexts, providing many of the jobs, goods and services that people need,’ said Pamela Coke-Hamilton, ITC Executive Director. ‘With Japan’s support, we’ll continue to strengthen the digital skills of small businesses and displaced persons in Ukraine, so they can keep going, even in this difficult context.’

H.E. Mr. Kiyoto Tsuji, Japan’s State Minister for Foreign Affairs, said: ‘This contribution marks Japan’s commitment to the economic reconstruction of Ukraine and to the Women, Peace and Security agenda.’

Aside from these projects, Japan is also providing funds for the SheTrades initiative, ITC’s flagship programme supporting women’s economic empowerment, and a project supporting Sri Lanka’s exports to Japan.

Notes to the Editor

About the International Trade Centre - The International Trade Centre is the joint agency of the World Trade Organization and the United Nations. ITC assists small and medium-sized enterprises in developing and transition economies to become more competitive in global markets, thereby contributing to sustainable economic development within the frameworks of the Aid-for-Trade agenda and the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

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Media contact

Susanna Pak
Senior Strategic Communications Officer
International Trade Centre
E: pak [at]
T: +41 22 730 0651