Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF) for Trade-Related Assistance to LDCs

The EIF is a multi-donor programme which supports LDCs to increase their participation in the international trading system. It focuses on five main activities: (i) mainstreaming trade into national development and poverty reduction strategies; (ii) setting up of structures needed to coordinate the delivery of trade-related technical assistance; (iii) building capacity to trade, including addressing critical supply‑side constraints; (iv) increasing aid for trade support for developing countries, in particular least developed countries; and (v) including environmental considerations in projects concerning economic policies and poverty alleviation. By strengthening trade institutions and building capacity and country ownership needed to roll-out coordinated trade and development assistance, the EIF brings a positive contribution to poverty eradication, the acceleration of economic growth and the promotion of sustainable development in participating countries.

Six core partners contribute to the operation of the EIF: IMF, ITC, UNCTAD, UNDP, the World Bank and the WTO. UNIDO and UNWTO are observer agencies. The programme is supported by a multi-donor Trust Fund with contributions from 24 country donors.

The EIF has two funding facilities: Tier I and Tier II. The first focuses on institutional and policy-related support. This includes the preparation of a Diagnostic Trade Integration Study and Action Matrix. These two instruments allow LDCs to prioritize actions to tackle trade-related constraints and to anchor trade policy into their national institutional set up and development strategies. The Tier II facility is used to fund projects that address supply side constraints.

The EIF is the successor of the Integrated Framework (IF) which was established in 1997 as a result of decisions at the first Ministerial Conference of the WTO in 1996 (Singapore). The mandate of the EIF was to expire at the end of 2015. However, in December 2014, the EIF steering committee decided to extend the mandate until 2022. The decision is based on the positive results of a program-wide review conducted in 2014.


Utilization by LDCs: The EIF operates in LDCs and graduated countries. EIF country profiles are published on the EIF website and provide insights into the main ongoing projects, the state of the implementation, results, financial data, contacts, links and additional documentation (e.g., CambodiaLao PDRLesothoLiberiaMali and Yemen).

Smooth transition: Graduating LDCs continue to access EIF benefits automatically for three years after graduation and may do so for a further two years subject to justification and approval by the EIF Board.

Sources and further information:

  1. Enhanced Integrated Framework website
  2. Tier 1 Guidelines
  3. Tier 2 Guidelines
  4. EIF Strategic Plan for 2019-2022

From the archives: Spotlight Summaries: EIF Success Stories – Lessons Learned (2012)