Trade and Poverty Reduction

New Evidence of Impacts in Developing Countries

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Global trade has contributed strongly to reducing poverty but important challenges remain in making trade work for the poorest. This publication presents eight case studies to reveal how trade can help to reduce poverty in developing countries. It focuses on four constraints faced by the extremely poor – namely that they tend to live in rural areas, work in the informal sector, live in fragile and conflict-affected regions and face gender inequality. The case studies identify ways to overcome these constraints, including through the adoption of policies that maximize the contribution of trade to poverty reduction. The studies also highlight the ongoing gaps in data and research that constrain policy-making. The publication is a follow-up to The Role of Trade in Ending Poverty, co-published by the WTO and the World Bank in 2015, which examined the challenges the poor face in benefiting from trade opportunities. The country-specific approach of this new publication complements the global perspective of the previous report.



Glass Barriers: Constraints to Women’s Small-Scale,Cross-Border Trade in Cambodia and Lao PDR

Border checkpoints in developing countries often teem with traders transporting small quantities on foot or pushing carts alongside trucks that sport the insignia of formal companies. Those small-scale, cross-border traders may eventually be superseded by larger import-export firms. But during the process of development, their trade may be a valuable avenue for poverty alleviation and women’s empowerment. This chapter focuses on the latter in the context of small-scale, cross-border trade in Cambodia and Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR). It analyzes recent survey research undertaken by the World Bank and draws conclusions about the key policy implications for facilitating the poverty-reducing impact of women’s participation in small-scale, cross-border trade.


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