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4 October 2000
Gabon is organizing a meeting of African Trade Ministers
Libreville, Gabon 13-15 november 2000

The Government of the Gabonese Republic, in cooperation with the Secretariat of the World Trade Organization and with the financial support of various donors, will be hosting a meeting of African Trade Ministers in Libreville from 13-15 November 2000.

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The Gabonese Government has invited all of the African Member or non-Member countries of the WTO to the Libreville meeting, the objective of which is to enable African trade officials and private-sector partners to acquire a better grasp of the WTO rules and agreements. The meeting should also help the African countries in their technical preparations for the future trade negotiations.

The meeting will be chaired by H.E. Mr. El Hadj Omar Bongo, President of the Gabonese Republic.

Mr. Mike Moore, Director-General of the WTO, Mr. Salim Ahmed Salim, Secretary-General of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), Mr. Amoako, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, Mr. Omar Kabbaj, President of the African Development Bank (ADB) Group, and representatives of the developed countries and development assistance institutions will be taking part in the Libreville meeting.

In plenary, the Ministers will reaffirm their political commitment to the multilateral trading system and examine ways and means of enhancing the participation of the African countries in that system and in WTO activities.

A series of workshops organized by the WTO Secretariat on ten themes covering the WTO agreements will enable the delegations of the African countries to familiarize themselves with the substance of the rules and agreements governing multilateral trade.

Fifty-three countries should attend the Libreville meeting: Algeria, Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Republic of the Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, C˘te d'Ivoire, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Equatorial Guinea, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

The following sub-regional integration organizations in Africa will also take part in the conference: Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CEMAC), Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), Southern Africa Development Community (SADC), West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) and the Arab Maghreb Union.

This meeting has been made possible by the financial and material contributions of Gabon, France, the United Kingdom, Luxembourg, Japan, Chinese Taipei, South Africa, Morocco, Egypt, Nigeria, the Agence Intergouvernementale de la Francophonie, the European Union, the African Development Bank, the International Development Research Center and the United Nations Development Programme.

Alongside the meeting, President Bongo will organize a round-table to assess the implementation of the decisions and recommendations of the summit on poverty reduction and growth held in Libreville in January 2000. This meeting will be attended by the Heads of State of the countries members of the follow-up committee and the heads of the institutions and agencies involved in development financing and aid.

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