While Africa’s share of global value-added trade has increased significantly during the past 20 years, connecting African small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to value chains and turning the support for greater intra-African trade into a reality remains challenging. Ensuring that the trade discourse is fully integrated into this development story is critical and countries, especially those that have recently acceded, have to be supported to recognise and take advantage of the global trading system and their WTO membership. To place a spotlight on trade-led growth for SMEs, the International Trade Centre (ITC) launched its SME Competitiveness Outlook in 2015. This flagship publication identified three key determinants of SMEs’ ability to integrate into value chains: their ability to compete, connect and change. The ITC’s capacity-building interventions, which have a strong focus on African countries, are centred on helping SMEs become more competitive and connect to value chains to drive the continent’s sustainable economic development.
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