Reporter 417, 23 March 1998

Leeds team lends expertise to United Nations mission

A team including two Leeds academics has just returned from a United Nations mission to Egypt to explore ways of increasing foreign investment in its developing and emerging economy - and of avoiding the over-rapid expansion which has seen the recent downfall of many East Asian economies.

The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) delegation included Professor Peter Buckley of the Business School and Dr Anne Walker of Textile Industries. Professor Buckley has been involved with UNCTAD for ten years and was invited to head this pilot visit as a result of his reputation in international business and investment.

"Egypt is ideally situated to trade with Arabic and African markets as well as having a large home market but has been held back by its traditional business practices," he said.

Textiles make up a large proportion of Egypt's trade and Dr Anne Walker was invited to take part as a result of her own experience of working in the industry at a senior level and her consultancy business.

"It was a fascinating visit," says Dr Walker. "The juxtaposition of old and new buildings and of traditional and modern industries is striking." She advised senior politicians and heads of multinationals of the importance of developing an internal consumer market rather than depending entirely on overseas markets.

Follow-up workshops will be held in Egypt and, if this pilot mission is seen as a success, UNCTAD will plan visits to other emerging economies such as Peru and Uganda.

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