United Nations Economic Commission for Africa Call for Participation for Training and Research on Digital Trade Regulatory Integration in Africa

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May 26, 2021

1. Background

Towards the end of 2020, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), through its African Trade Policy Centre (ATPC), launched a training and research initiative on “Digital trade regulatory integration in Africa”, focusing on 11 pilot countries. Based on their background and expertise in the area, researchers from Cameroon, Chad, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia were selected to build two databases, for each countries of focus, on various measures related to digital services trade regulations and digital trade integration, respectively.

Following the success of the first phase of this initiative, ECA invites researchers who are interested in both building their capacity and contributing to fill the data gaps in the area of digital trade regulatory integration in Africa, through learning-by-doing, to submit their applications to be considered for the second phase of the training and research program on “Digital trade regulatory integration in Africa”.[1] This second phase is opened to all interested candidates willing to focus on one of the African countries NOT already covered in the first phase (see above list of phase 1 pilot countries).

2. Objective

The objective of this exercise is triple: 1) Gather and provide information on digital trade regulatory integration to Member States which could be particularly useful in the perspective of AfCFTA Phase III negotiation on e-commerce but also digital trade matters at large, considering the importance it is gaining with Covid-19 crisis and the role it can play in the recovery process; 2) Collect information which could help adding a digital trade integration component to the next edition of AUC-AfDB-ECA Africa Regional Integration Index (ARII) which has been mandated by the Member States (https://arii.uneca.org/en-US) ; 3) Collect relevant information to be able to add African countries into the OECD Digital Services Trade Restrictiveness Index (Digital STRI) database. The latter is to be incorporated into a Policy Simulator which could also be a handy tool for Member States, with a friendly interface that can be accessed online (https://sim.oecd.org/Default.ashx?lang=En&ds=DGSTRI).

3. Participation: training and assignments

Successful candidates will be trained to collect and verify data and information on national regulations affecting digital trade environment of respective countries. Following the technical guidelines and close supervisions by international experts, including those from OECD, each candidate will be given an assignment to construct, for a specific country of focus, two datasets on digital services trade restrictions (in conformity with OECD Digital STRI) and digital trade integration, respectively.

Each successful applicant will have 4 months to complete the assignment by submitting the two national datasets and a 3- to 5-page summary of the country’s regulatory profile, which may be co-published by ECA and the researcher or its affiliated institution, as appropriate. Overall expected time commitment is about 1.5 work month, which can however vary depending on experience of the researcher.

The national datasets produced under this initiative will have to follow technical guidelines and address peer-reviewed comments from the project supervisors and experts.

While the mandatory training, to precede the research work, will be mostly conducted in English, the research segment can be completed and submitted to ECA in either English or French, as desired by the selected researcher.

4. Benefits

The selected candidates will each be given a research fee (through a consultant’s contract with ECA) of USD 6,000 to be paid in 2 installments, as follow: USD 2,000 after successful completion of the mandatory training (mostly in English) and submission of a short inception report (in either English or French), and, USD 4,000 following successful submission of the two national digital trade regulatory integration datasets and short country profile no later than 15 October 2021 (in either English or French) for a country of choice. The country profile, expected to published on ECA website, will also indicate the contributor’s name.

5. Eligibility criteria

The application is open to researchers with at least 5 years of experience in studying or analyzing trade matters and ideally related laws. Knowledge of local and/or official languages of the country of assignment is required. Fluency in either English or French is required, with knowledge of English also required for those candidates fluent in French.

6. How to apply

To apply, please submit by email to mevel@un.org and geoffroy.guepie@un.org the following documents:

  • Resume/CV;
  • A cover letter, indicating the country/countries where the applicant has interest or capability to conduct the research, and reasons for being a suitable candidate;
  • Professional/Academic recommendation.

You must have submitted the required document no later than 31 May 2021 for your application to be considered.

Only the successful candidates will be notified by email around 15 June 2021.

7. Contract arrangement

ECA will enter into appropriate contractual arrangements, with the successful applicants who have been selected, for funding their participation in these training and research exercises.

8. Contact information

If you have any questions, please contact Mr Geoffroy Guepie (geoffroy.guepie@un.org)

For more information, click here


[1] This program builds on the ESCAP-OECD research project on “Digital-trade regulatory integration in Asia-Pacific region”. See: https://www.unescap.org/announcement/escap-oecd-digital-trade-regulatory-analysis.