A TAF2+ pilot project providing initial assistance to the government of Sudan in its process of accession to the WTO is on its way to conclusion. This assistance came at a challenging juncture in Sudan’s accession process and aimed at providing both direct ad hoc support relating to the ongoing work in the context of the WTO Working Party process and a comprehensive assessment of Sudan’s capacity building needs both pre- and post-accession. In this context, the Expert Team developed a novel ‘Model Framework’ for capacity building for trade negotiations, in particular, WTO accession, designed to be used also in other contexts and for the benefit of other countries.
The Expert Team from WTI Advisors conducted a consultative workshop and a series of working meetings considering in some detail the state of the exchange of information between Sudan and the members of the WTO Working Party, identifying and discussing points for further clarification, complementing the assessment of further reform needs resulting from the exchanges, and clarifying relevant legal issues.
The team further performed an assessment of the current capacity of Sudan’s governmental and non-governmental stakeholders to perform those tasks necessary to conduct and complete the country’s accession to the WTO as well as to engage post-accession as an effective Member of the organisation. The needs assessment, while operating within the limits of the project’s capacities, takes a somewhat ambitious comprehensive view of relevant capacities across all substantive areas of WTO-related law, economics and policy, across all six ‘tracks’ of an acceding government’s engagement in WTO accession-related processes, across all relevant institutions, considering roles, levels of capacity needed and present, and providing a gap analysis. This applies the concept of six ‘dimensions’ developed as instructive parameters and explored conceptually in the ‘Model Framework’.
The needs assessment aims to support Sudan in its efforts to implement targeted capacity-building measures and obtain related support from donors and institutions – it is hoped: as a living reference document, to be prescribed, refined, adjusted and further developed as Sudan progresses towards fully effective WTO engagement. As the project team concludes its current phase of work, the TAF2+ programme looks to remain engaged and is expected to join others in supporting Sudan further in this process.