We support developing countries to access the benefits of a globalized economy more fairly and effectively. And we help equip them to deal with the potential drawbacks of greater economic integration. To do this, we provide analysis, facilitate consensus-building, and offer technical assistance. This helps them to use trade, investment, finance, and technology as vehicles for inclusive and sustainable development.

UNCTAD is a permanent intergovernmental body established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1964. Our headquarters are located in Geneva, Switzerland, and we have offices in New York and Addis Ababa.

UNCTAD is part of the UN Secretariat. We report to the UN General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council but have our own membership, leadership, and budget. We are also part of the United Nations Development Group.

Take a look at the UN system chart (PDF) to see our place in the UN family.

The Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency

SIDA, is a government agency working on behalf of the Swedish parliament and government, tasked with reducing poverty in the world. Through its work and in cooperation with others, SIDA, contributes to the implementation of the Global Goals for Sustainable Development.

In the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) SIDA’s work is based on two strategies; a regional MENA strategy and a specific strategy for the crisis in Syria.

SIDA’s and UNCTAD’s work underway in the MENA region aims at fostering regional economic development as a prerequisite for facilitating regional and international trade through addressing the intricacies inherent in the institutional setup at local and regional level. The activities committed to under the umbrella of the MENA UNCTAD project on Consumer Protection and Competition policy will contribute to the development of regional networks, to the sharing of knowledge and experiences, to shaping opinion and to increased accountability, as well as to the development of more effective regional cooperation and collaboration and more effective organizations.

Towards MENA economic integration

UNCTAD MENA programme launched in 2015, aims to boost regional economic integration, among other topics, by strengthening markets through improved competition and consumer protection policies in the Middle East and North Africa region.
Considering the interrelation between Competition Law and Consumer Law and Policy, both combined provide the necessary tools for market trust, consumer trust thus stimulating best practices, economic development also having impacts on access to information and poverty reduction.


Competition stimulates innovation, productivity and competitiveness, contributing to an effective business environment. This generates economic growth and employment. It creates possibilities for small and medium sized enterprises, removes barriers that protect entrenched elites and reduces opportunities for corruption.

Consumer protection

Consumer protection benefits us all by ensuring that we all have the right: to access non-hazardous products; to adequate information to enable them to make informed choices according to individual wishes and needs; and to effective redress.

Gender equality

The reduction of gender inequalities has a positive impact on trade policy outcomes and economic growth. Apart from that, SDG N. 5 on Gender equality and women empowerment renders women an important and relevant role as economic agents.


“I thank Sweden for financing this project which has a big impact on strengthening consumer protection in beneficiary countries”

Ms. Fatiha Akharif

Acting Director of Quality and Market Surveillance, Ministry for Industry, Trade, Investment and Digital Economy, Morocco

“I believe this is a good project and we hope we continue until the end, and we hope to exchange views, experiences and teach each other. At the end of the day we all are winners in this project “

Mr. Atef Yacoub

Former Chairman, Consumer Protection Agency, Egypt

UNCTAD MENA in Numbers

Capacity building participants

Regional centers

Publications (Arabic, English and French)