Evaluating Aid for Trade on the Ground: Lessons From the Philippines

Date period
5 July 2013

SummarySince 2000, the Philippines received USD 5.1 million to overcome its supply-side constraints to trade. This makes the Philippines among the largest beneficiaries of aid for trade funds.

This study assesses the effectiveness and impact of aid for trade in the Philippines. It argues that the country has performed well in terms of the Paris Principles on Aid Effectiveness. In fact, Philippine institutions have been able to take ownership of the aid for trade initiative, by clearly defining and articulating trade and development strategies and priorities. Trade is mainstreamed into national development planning, and aid for trade programmes and projects constitute an integral instrument of the country’s trade strategy. Moreover, the government has been successful in engaging with donors, whose assistance is aligned to the country’s priorities. And, yet, the Philippines can be considered as a paradox, where the elements for aid effectiveness are in place, but the results in terms of strengthening the country’s trade and export capacities have been very modest.

This paper is part of a broader research project that ICTSD has recently undertaken to assess the effectiveness of aid for trade in eight developing countries - Bangladesh, Cambodia, Ghana, Guatemala, Malawi, Nepal, Peru, and the Philippines. Through this analysis, ICTSD aims to contribute to the ongoing discussion on the aid for trade initiative and to provide information and evidence to guide developing countries and their trade and development partners in designing and implementing more effective aid for trade programmes in the future.