WTPO Conference and Awards 2022

1 June 2022
ITC News

Bold solutions for resilience and recovery

This year's World Trade Promotion Organizations Conference and Awards took place in Accra, Ghana – with 62 countries represented in Accra and more joining online through the LinkedIn livestream, which had 8500 views. They gathered to discuss bold solutions for resilience and recovery, against the backdrop of the triple threat from Covid, climate and conflict. They looked at their own power as national trade promotion agencies to tip the balance towards ‘good trade’ that empowers small firms, youth, women, those in rural areas and others who often are not at the forefront of trade.

Embracing risk, building up sustainable trade, doing business with the AfCFTA and humanizing work were conference plenary themes.

New partnerships were announced with the AfCFTA Secretariat to increase technical support to the private sector, and with the Ghana Export Promotion Authority and the government of the Netherlands for digital services to enhance agribusiness (see Partnerships4Purpose). ITC unveiled its Benchmarking Tool , provided research insights from its SME Competitiveness Outlook, and offered a range of tools and publications at its booth. Coffee and chocolate from the Alliances for Action project was available. The conference was preceded by a workshop on national export strategy and followed by the annual meeting of TPOs from the ECOWAS region.

A highlight was the Awards ceremony, in which trade promotion organizations are honoured for their commitment and hard work in three categories. This year, trade promotion organizations from Jamaica, Malaysia and Zimbabwe received the top prizes for launching innovative programmes in their countries that help small firms benefit from trade opportunities.  These were the categories:

Best use of a partnership
Winner: Jamaica - Jamaica Promotions Organization (JAMPRO)
Runner up: Qatar - Qatar Development Bank and Export Development and Promotion Agency (TASDEER)

Best use of information technology
Winner: Malaysia - Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (MATRADE)
Runners-up: Austria - Advantage Austria and Canada - Canadian Trade Commissioner Service, Global Affairs Canada

Best initiative for inclusive and sustainable trade
Winner: Zimbabwe - Zimtrade
Runner up: Sri Lanka - Sri Lanka Export Development Board

The competition, open to all national trade promotion organizations, recognizes excellence in trade support services. The organizations show that their initiatives help micro, small and medium-sized enterprises to become competitive in international markets.

The jury included the former winners from Georgia, Costa Rica and Sweden; the previous conference host, France; and the current host, Ghana.

Other national shortlisted countries were: Brazil, Nigeria and Saudi Arabia (partnerships); United Republic of Tanzania (information technology); Republic of Korea, the Netherlands, Zambia (sustainable and inclusive trade).

A communications and advocacy campaign for the conference raised the profile of TPOs to advocate for their role in supporting small businesses to trade. Before the event, ITC provided materials and guidance for award nominees, speakers, the advisory board and participants. The UN in Ghana and the Ghana Export Promotion Authority worked in close partnership with ITC on outreach. Over 140 articles in 15 countries appeared in May, and 1100 posts in several languages captured the themes of the conference.