The Hub and Spokes programme was an innovative aid for trade initiative that deployed trade advisors to government ministries and economic organisations in the Africa, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) group of countries.
The programme ended on 31 August 2019. A similar project is currently being developed. The Commonwealth continues to support trade in Africa and Pacific regions via the African Union Commission and Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat through to June 2020.
Hub and Spokes was a joint initiative of the European Union, Commonwealth Secretariat, ACP Group Secretariat and the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie (OIF).
National trade advisers (the ‘spokes’) were sent to support government trade ministries. Regional trade advisers (the ‘hubs’) were sent to support major regional organisations.
The programme helped countries to:
- train key stakeholders and policy-makers in trade policy issues
- negotiate and implement international trade agreements
- establish and strengthen national and regional trade networks
Throughout the final phase, 43 advisers were deployed in 28 African, Caribbean and Pacific countries.
The Commonwealth deployed 7 Regional Trade Advisers (Hubs) and 16 National Trade Advisers (Spokes) in the Eastern and Southern Africa, Caribbean and Pacific regions.
The Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie (OIF) deployed 4 ‘Hubs’ and 16 ‘Spokes’ in Central and West Africa.
The first phase of the Hub and Spokes project ran from 2004 to 2012. Because of its success a second phase, the Hub and Spokes II Programme, was developed and extended until 2016.
- More than 34,000 stakeholders from parliament, academia, business and civil society trained and sensitised on trade policy issues;
- Major contributions made to the drafting of trade policies in Botswana, Central Africa Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Malawi, Federated States of Micronesia, Rwanda, Samoa, Sierra Leone, St Vincent and the Grenadines and Trinidad and Tobago;
- Joint trade policy reviews prepared and presented to the WTO by countries including Chad, Cameroon, Congo, Gabon and Central African Republic;
- A large volume of negotiating briefs, issue papers and position papers created;
- Valuable contributions made towards implementing trade agreements and the reform of national regulatory regimes.