The Government of the Netherlands and the International Trade Center (ITC) today signed a four-year partnership agreement to support innovative projects aimed at improving the trade competitiveness of service sectors in selected African countries, by focusing on ’emphasis on digital technology and agro-industrial services.
COVID-19 has helped accelerate the global digital transformation. Stimulating the development and delivery of innovative and efficient digital solutions can have a major impact on traditional sectors like agribusiness, improving efficiency, improving productivity and added value, ensuring traceability and enabling stronger positioning on international markets.
Digital acceleration can also help rebuild better in an environmentally sustainable way: digitization enables better use of resources through increased resource and energy efficiency and a circular economy.
The partnership, called Dutch Trust Fund V (NTF V), will contribute to this structural transformation of agribusiness and associated value chains. It will support thousands of small businesses and tens of thousands of jobs, creating entrepreneurial opportunities for women, youth and poor communities. Through efficient agro-industrial and support services, the DSF V will ultimately contribute to increased trade, better incomes and poverty reduction.
The NTF V, with a contribution from the Government of the Netherlands of $ 15 million, was signed by Steven Collet, Director of Sustainable Economic Development, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, and Pamela Coke-Hamilton, Executive Director of International Trade Center.
“The pandemic has shown us the importance of digitization – and the resilience of global and local value chains. With NTF V, we will be able to focus more 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 hit hard by the current Covid crisis. NTF V will allow us to help better rebuild and support sustainable and inclusive development where it matters most. ‘ Pamela Coke-Hamilton, International Trade Center
Steven Collet underlined the importance of the renewed partnership, which builds on a long-standing collaboration between the Government of the Netherlands and ITC, dating back over 15 years.
“We have enjoyed a long-standing, trusting and productive relationship with ITC. The last fifteen years of successive NTF programs have brought about significant changes, thanks to partnerships with Dutch development actors. In the next phase of our partnership, we need to improve our game and improve the competitiveness of SMEs in African countries, focusing on digital technology and agrifood services and the link between the two. Steven Collet, Director of Sustainable Economic Development, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands
The NTF V program builds on the results obtained under the NTF IV program (2017-2021), also funded by the Netherlands. NTF IV has supported more than 8,000 jobs in beneficiary companies and generated more than $ 60 million in income in Guinea, Liberia, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Uganda. More than 1,600 small and medium-sized enterprises and entrepreneurs have modified their business operations to improve their competitiveness, and more than 1,200 business links have been established.
NTF V will build on the methodologies, partnerships and tools of two ITC programs: Alliances for Action (A4A) in agribusiness and the FastTrackTech initiative. Alliance for Action builds productive and business alliances among stakeholders to enable transparency from farm to fork. FastTrack Tech works with small businesses in local technology ecosystems to ensure that the benefits of technologies reach as many beneficiaries as possible.