WTO Public Forum 2016

Past Event Geneva, Switzerland Trade and Firms

At the WTO Public Forum 2016 (WTO’s flagship event with up to 1500 participants) in Geneva, the IGC held a 90-minute-panel discussion on how trade can be used to promote firm productivity and growth. This session sought to answer how regional integration and increased trade could affect poverty reduction and job creation. Looking at the most recent evidence on regional integration in East Africa, through the East African Community (EAC), as well as the possible effects of the Continental Free Trade Area, the panelists discussed what the effects are of such an increase in trade, how it affects SMEs and what the role of technology has been in the process of integration. The session presented new evidence on the growth and poverty reduction effects of regional integration, and drawing upon the lessons from EAC and analysis of possible benefits of the CFTA, discussed policy changes needed to further African integration for inclusive growth.

Looking specifically at the role of SMEs in the East African experience, this session sought to answer these burning questions. To do so, the IGC put together a panel of distinguished economists that presented a summary of past and frontier research.

The panel, chaired by Richard Newfarmer, included presentations and discussions by leading economics professors and policy makers from the region.

Chair:  Richard Newfarmer, IGC


  • Bernard Hoekman (EUI and IGC)
  • Jaime De Melo (University of Geneva/FERDI and IGC)
  • Olivier Cadot (HEC Lausanne)
  • Thierry Mayer (Sciences Po)

You can find a summary of the IGC session below.