10 Supporting sustainable growth and encouraging trade and investment (Q19)
10.1 As set out in the consultation document, trade and investment is another part of the 'development toolkit'. Question 19 asked respondents about their views on supporting sustainable growth in partner countries and encouraging trade and investment links with Scotland.
Question 19: Scottish Government's ambition in its international development programme is to support sustainable growth in our priority partner countries, and to encourage better trade and investment links between these countries and Scotland. Please share any views you have on how this ambition might be achieved.
10.2 A range of examples of good practice were identified in relation to trade and investment links between partner countries and Scotland. In particular, mention was made of the good work of the Scotland Malawi Partnership, of Just Trading Scotland, and of UNICEF's Water Sanitation and Hygiene ( WASH) programme.
10.3 The main substantive themes identified by respondents in relation to this ambition were: the importance of the 'policy coherence for development approach'; support for and access to expertise and finance; and infrastructure development support. In addition, respondents emphasised that the approach adopted should fit with the core principles of international development funding. Each of these topics is addressed in turn below.
Policy coherence for development
10.4 Respondents from all organisational types emphasised the importance of implementing a 'policy coherence for development' ( PCD) approach. It was thought that this cross-departmental approach, would allow the aid and trade dimensions of international development to be joined up, and would offer the greatest potential for maximising the benefits of trade for job creation and inclusive growth. Only by taking a cross-cutting approach would it be possible to deal with issues such as import and export tariffs, and trade rules more generally. This topic is discussed further in Chapter 11 ('Beyond Aid').
Enhanced access to expertise and finance
10.5 Respondents identified a variety of issues on which partner countries would need support and expertise including: finance and access to capital; intelligence on markets and emerging markets; logistical support; product specifications for trading with Scotland; and business models including micro-credit and circular / shared business. Respondents also suggested that access to affordable (micro) finance for developing businesses was key.
10.6 In some cases it was argued that this support was required for partners in Scotland as well as those in the host country.
Support for infrastructure development
10.7 Support for infrastructure development across a wide range of areas - e.g. transport; building, including schools; renewable energy; IT - was thought to be vital to achieve the Scottish Government's ambitions. These developments would in turn support access to education and training which was required to build better trade and investment links.
Fit with core principles
10.8 Underpinning all these substantive comments was an insistence that the development of trade and investment had to comply with the core principles of international development funding. Thus, poverty alleviation and the promotion of human development should be central. Moreover, all developments should be congruent with the objectives of the partner country, should be done in partnership and be inclusive, and should be aimed at developing sustainable, fair trade.
10.9 Other suggestions included:
- The Scottish Government should fund a fair trade organisation to advocate for trade rules that would make import of value-added products more likely.
- An information / media campaign should be commissioned to educate the public about international development and making positive choices in relation to consumer decision-making.
Caveats and disagreements
10.10 A small number of respondents did not agree with the premise of the question, and offered a number of views:
- The IDF should be ring-fenced for non-commercial development work.
- International development and trade were competing priorities and could not both be achieved.
- It was not realistic to deliver this ambition on any substantial scale.
- Focusing on exports to Scotland was not appropriate; trading regionally was more beneficial.