The Netherlands, ITC to enhance trade competitiveness in African countries

The Netherlands, ITC to enhance trade competitiveness in African countries

The Government of the Netherlands and the International Trade Centre (ITC) signed today a four-year partnership agreement to support innovative projects to enhance the trade competitiveness of the services sectors in selected African countries, focusing on digital technology and agribusiness services.

COVID-19 has contributed to accelerating the global digital transformation. Boosting the development and provision of innovative and effective digital solutions can have a major impact on traditional sectors like agribusiness, improving efficiency, enhancing productivity and value-addition, providing traceability, and allowing stronger positioning in international markets.



Digital acceleration can also support building back better in an environmentally sustainable manner: digitalization enables better usage of resources through increased resource and energy efficiency, and circular economy.

The partnership, called the Netherlands Trust Fund V (NTF V), will contribute to this structural transformation in agribusiness and related value chains. It will support thousands of small businesses and tens of thousands of jobs, thereby creating entrepreneurial opportunities for women, youth and poor communities. Through efficient agribusiness and support services, NTF V will ultimately contribute to increased trade, better incomes, and help reduce poverty.

NTF V, with a contribution of the Government of the Netherlands of $15 million, was signed by Steven Collet, Director for Sustainable Economic Development, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, and Pamela Coke-Hamilton, the Executive Director of the International Trade Centre.

‘The pandemic has shown us the importance of digitalization – and of the resilience of global and local value chains. With NTF V, we will be able to increase our focus on using innovative digital solutions to make value chains more resilient and to support small businesses operating within these value chains. With the generous support of the Netherlands, we will support countries that have been severely hit by the ongoing Covid-related crisis. NTF V will allow us to contribute to building back better and to support sustainable inclusive development where it matters most.’ Pamela Coke-Hamilton, International Trade Centre

Steven Collet underlined the importance of the renewed partnership, which builds on a long-lasting collaboration between the government of the Netherlands and ITC, going back more than 15 years.



‘We have a long-standing, trusted and productive relationship with ITC. The last fifteen years of successive NTF programmes have delivered meaningful change, thanks to partnerships with Dutch development actors. In the next phase of our partnership we need to up our game and enhance competitiveness of SMEs in African countries, focusing on digital technology and agribusiness services and the link between the two. Steven Collet, Director for Sustainable Economic Development, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands

The NTF V programme builds on the results achieved under the NTF IV programme (2017-2021), also funded by the Netherlands. NTF IV supported more than 8,000 jobs at beneficiary companies and generated more than $60 million in revenue in Guinea, Liberia, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Uganda. More than 1,600 small and medium-sized enterprises and entrepreneurs made changes to their business operations to enhance competitiveness, and more than 1,200 market linkages were created.

NTF V will draw on methodologies, partnerships and tools from two ITC programmes: Alliances for Action (A4A) in agribusiness and the FastTrackTech initiative. Alliance for Action builds productive and commercial alliances between stakeholders to enable farm to fork transparency. FastTrack Tech works with small businesses in local tech ecosystems to ensure the benefits of technologies reach the widest possible number of beneficiaries.



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 become more competitive in global markets, thereby contributing to sustainable and inclusive economic development within the frameworks of the Aid-for-Trade agenda and the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).