Call for participation in training and research on digital trade regulatory integration in African countries
Wednesday, October 21, 2020 to Friday, October 30, 2020

1. Background

The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), through its African Trade Policy Centre (ATPC), invites researchers who are interested in both building their capacity and contributing to fill the data gaps in the area of digital-trade regulatory in Africa, through learning-by-doing, to submit applications for participation in a training and research programme on “Digital-trade regulatory integration”. This programme builds on the ESCAP-OECD research project on “Digital-trade regulatory integration in Asia-Pacific region”.[1]

The objective of the Africa-focused programme of this project is to start building a database on digital-trade regulatory restrictiveness, considering the growing importance of digital trade in Africa, particularly in response to COVID-19 and in the perspective of the 3rd Phase (on e-commerce issues) of the negotiations of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement and its implementation process.

2. Participation: training and assignments

Successful candidates will be trained to collect and verify data and information on national regulations affecting digital trade environment of respective countries. Following the technical guidelines and close supervisions by international experts, including those from OECD, the candidates will be given an assignment to construct a dataset of national digital-trade regulatory restrictiveness.

Each successful applicant will have 4 months to complete the assignment by submitting the national digital-trade regulatory restrictiveness dataset and a 2- to 4-page summary of the country’s regulatory profile, which may be co-published by ECA, ESCAP and the researcher or its affiliated institution, as appropriate. Overall expected time commitment is about 1.5 work month, depending on experience of the researcher.

The national datasets produced under this initiative will have to follow technical guidelines and address peer-reviewed comments from the project supervisor and experts. The datasets will eventually be used as part of inputs for the joint ECA-AUC-AfDB Africa Regional Integration Index (ARII) and OECD DSTRI databases.[2]  The country-profile sheet will be subsequently published on the ECA and ESCAP websites.

The mandatory training, to precede the research work, will be conducted in English only, while the research segment can be completed and submitted to ECA in either English or French.

3. Benefits

The selected candidates will each be given a research fee (through a consultant contract with ECA) of USD 6,000 to be paid in 3 equal installments, as follow: USD 2,000 after successful completion of a mandatory training (in English), USD 2,000 after submission of an inception report (in either English or French) no later than 31 December 2020 and, USD 2,000 following successful submission of the project assignments no later than 28 February 2021 (in either English or French) for a country of choice (outputs will need to follow the technical guidelines and address peer-reviewed comments received, including from project supervisors and experts). The country-profile sheets which will be published on the ECA and ESCAP websites will also indicate the contributors’ name.

Participation in this project is a great opportunity for researchers in developing countries – and the institution they may be affiliated with - to build their capacity in research and analysis in the areas of digital trade related laws and regulations. The project participants will engage in practical training on legal-data collection, verification, and analysis. The participants will develop their technical capacity through, also, learning-by-doing, and interactions with experts in the areas through-out the project. This will give them opportunities to develop competencies in digital-trade regulatory analysis and networking with professionals in the areas.

4. Eligibility and criteria

The application is open to researchers with at least 2 years of experience in studying or analyzing trade-related laws. Knowledge of local and/or official languages of the country of assignment is required.

5. How to apply

To apply, please submits by email to mevel@un.org the following documents:

    • Resume/CV;
    • A cover letter, indicating the country/countries where the applicant has interest or capability to conduct the research, and reasons for being a suitable candidate;
    • Professional/Academic recommendation.


The deadline for application is 30 October 2020. The successful applications will be announced around 6 November 2020 by email.


6. Contract arrangement

ECA will enter into appropriate contractual arrangements with the successful applicants who have been selected for funding their participation in these research exercises.


7. Contact information

Please email Mr. Simon Mevel (mevel@un.org) if you have any question.