For over a decade, LUSEM has been running a trade policy training centre in Africa. The centre, called Trapca, provides training and technical expertise on trade issues to top civil servants in less developed countries. The explicit goal is to strengthen these representatives in international trade negotiations. We check in with academic director Hans Falck from LUSEM to see how the co-operation Sweden-Tanzania works in times of corona.
Situated in Arusha, Tanzania, Trapca operates under the support of the Eastern and Southern Africa Management Institute (the ESAMI) and Lund Univeristy School of Economics and Management. The programme, in International Trade Policy and Trade Law, is run as an offshore entity and is sponsored financially from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA). As all activities are funded by external governmental agencies, reviews of the activities are continuously assessed. In 2018, Trapca was up for a so-called Evaluation Report, in which an independent international panel reviewed all activities. Trapca passed its mid-term review with flying colours.
The future of Trapca
The 2020 covid-19 outbreak implied a severe challenge for Trapca. Trapca picks its students from the entire African continent and even though restrictions in Tanzania due to the epidemy have been relatively lenient, trapca activities of course are affected. Academic director Hans Falck, senior lecturer in economics, explains how it has affected Trapca:
“Trapca had to cancel its classes during the first half of 2020. However in September it was possible to restart activities again and even if the need for distance keeping puts a limit to the number of students that can be hosted at the ESAMI campus at the same time, training activities are almost back to normal.”
Hans keeps the spirit up for the future of Trapca:
”At present, the hope is good that Trapca will be able to fully resume its activities and carry out its training as committed in next year. The needs for capacity building in the area of trade policy is immense in Africa, not least in the perspective of the ongoing process of creating a continental free trade area (AfCFTA).”
Trapca, which earlier this year was granted continued support by Sida, is very well suited to provide such training. However, the possibilities to do so in next year of course depends on the development of Covid-19 and whether there will be new lockdowns, which again risk stopping students from travelling to Arusha.
2020 thesis award to international trade lawyer Patrick Anam
As for the thesis writing track, which is one major responsibility of Lund University, the effects of the pandemic have been limited so far.
Congratulations to Patrick Anam whose Master’s thesis has been awarded the most original contribution to the area of trade policy and trade law within Trapca in 2020. The purpose of the thesis award is ”to draw attention to high-quality novel and innovative work and to promote originality of research.”
Patrick Anam joined Trapca in April of 2018, and is an international trade lawyer. He writes:
“The programme has given me the necessary tools that I need to effectively contribute my skills toward the required trade policy changes in Africa through policy research, consultancy and publications. The programme has certainly empowered me by enabling me to interact with international trade policy and trade law at a deeper level.”
This article was originally published on Lund University website
The Trade Policy Training Centre in Africa (TRAPCA) is a Centre within the Eastern and Southern Africa Management Institute (ESAMI), which is an intergovernmental institute that is ISO certified and recognized by UNECA as a Centre of Excellence.