The Forum will bring together leaders from governments, donors, international organizations, business and academia to foster trade action in Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and inspire deeper collaborations and commitments in support of further LDC integration into global and regional trade.
2018 is a turning point for LDCs and trade, with a growing trade gap between developed nations and the world’s poorest countries and increasing instability in the world economy. The momentum we generate this year must lead to further integration of LDCs into trade at multiple scales into the future.  
At the Forum, leaders and practitioners from around the world will share what they have achieved on trade development in LDCs to date, with Aid for Trade complementing national initiatives, and will commit to doing more to ensure LDCs integrate and benefit from global trade. It will culminate in a call to action to leverage trade to combat poverty and inequality and to create a more inclusive trading system. 
avatar for Simon Hess

Simon Hess

Simon coordinates a portfolio of 12 EIF countries and is the focal point in the EIF for thematic issues related to the 2030 Development Agenda, Agriculture and SPS/TBT issues. Bringing 15 years' experience in trade and development across Africa, Asia and the Pacific, Simon has worked as an advisor with the Government of Lao PDR and as a director of an international development firm based in the UK. Having spent most of his life in Africa, studying in South Africa and Canada, Simon has a Masters' degree in Economics focused around award winning research on industrial development and trade. Amongst other areas, Simon has worked on regional integration, sustainability certification, and practical trade support. He continues research in areas such as the future direction for Aid for Trade.