The Director General of the World Trade Organization, Pascal Lamy, has said that African countries will increase their bargaining power next round of trade negotiations if they work as a block.
Lamy, who is in Uganda as part of a consultative tour of East Africa, told participants at a round table discussion this morning that Africa's trade demands will only receive international audience if the continent acts as a united block.
The expectations that developing countries would have a larger say in international trade were dashed in July last year when the WTO Doha Development Agenda negotiations were suspended. The Doha negotiations were suspended because gaps between key players remain too wide, with the main blockage to a settlement centering on market access and domestic support.
The Doha Development Round of WTO negotiations aimed at lowering barriers to trade around the world, with a focus on creating a fairer system of trade for development countries. Part of Lamy's mission in East Africa is to discuss how countries in the region can work together to bring the Round to a successful conclusion that will secure the developmental benefits to Africa in particular.
State Minister of Industry and Technology, Ephrahim Kamuntu, pledged that Uganda will use its new position of chair of Africa group of negotiators to lobby for removal of farm subsidies by rich countries and to increase access to international markets.
Lamy travels to Tanzania today and Kenya on Sunday where he will speak at the joint WTO-UNEP Round Table on Environment and trade.
world trade organization