H.E. Amara ESSY, Secretary-General of the OAU
Dr K.Y Amoako, Executive Secretary of the UN
Economic Commission for Africa
Mr. K. Bedoumbra, Representative of the President
of the African Development Bank
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I would like to
convey to all of you the greetings of Mr. Mike MOORE, Director General
of the World Trade Organization, who could not travel to Addis and has
asked me to represent him. It is a real pleasure for me to welcome you
all to the opening of the First WTO-ECA-OAU-ADB Trade Policy Course
for African countries and to report to you on progress of work at the
WTO. As you may know Africa is a priority at the WTO, in
capacity-building and in delivery of technical assistance. The Doha
Declaration therefore places the interests of African and other
developing countries at the heart of the WTO work programme. In
addition, it contains enhanced measures for trade-related technical
assistance and capacity building which would enable developing
countries, in particular the least-developed, to meaningfully
integrate into the multilateral trading system and the global economy.
The year 2001
was an outstanding one for the World Trade Organization, perhaps the
most significant in our brief history. We concluded a successful
Ministerial Conference in Doha. We reached agreement on the launch of
a new round of trade negotiations. We placed development issues and
the interests of our poorer members at the heart of our work. And we
welcomed more than a quarter of the world's population into our
membership from China, Chinese Taipei, Lithuania and Moldova. More
than 97% of world trade is now governed by WTO rules.
Success in Doha
brought to an end the uncertainty created by the failure at Seattle.
We are back in business. And our business is trade liberalisation.
since Doha has been equally impressive. Members have established a
Trade Negotiations Committee to oversee the negotiations. They have
appointed the Director-General ex-officio to chair this body. The
structure of the negotiations has been determined and chairpersons of
all the individual negotiating bodies decided upon. As well, Members
have chosen Cancun in Mexico as the venue for the fifth WTO
Ministerial Conference, which will take place from 10 to 14 September
2003 and Minister Derbez and his team have already begun preparations.
Through will and
determination, Members have proceeded rapidly to the substantive
negotiations. For our part, the Secretariat is well-prepared to assist
Members in their work. We have consolidated our internal structures
and refocused our priorities clearly to reflect the Doha Agenda.
We do believe
that we can conclude the round within the three-year timeframe agreed
by Ministers and namely by 1 January 2005. But we must move the
negotiations up a gear. And we must carry into our work the lessons
and insights from Doha. The new roadmap to Cancun in Mexico and on to
the successful conclusion of the round must include a number of key
One key to
success will be technical assistance and capacity building —
helping poorer members to integrate into the trading system and
participate fully in the negotiations. In Doha, developing countries
put the “conditionality” of capacity building on further
progress in trade liberalization. This conditionality is understood by
major donors and supporters.
already acted decisively by approving an increased Secretariat budget
for 2002 and pledging 30 million Swiss Francs to a new Global Trust
Fund for technical assistance. This is a solid step forward for the
implementation of the Doha Development Agenda.
Our task is to
make sure the resources are used efficiently and properly. We also
have to ensure they are tightly targeted on the technical assistance
needs of members — based around the Doha Development Agenda. Good
progress has been made already. The Secretariat has a comprehensive
programme of activities for 2002 and we are proceeding with
implementation. We have also put in place new audit and evaluation
systems to ensure members are informed and that there is greater
transparency and accountability in our technical assistance work. We
are hiring new staff as well to bolster our technical assistance
capabilities. They will be in place in the next few weeks.
We are looking
to be innovative. Our current programme of activities includes at
least 15 intensive 3-week training courses and we have also doubled
the capacity of our WTO Training Institute. To enhance these efforts,
we are now moving quickly to establish in host countries 3-month
diploma courses for trade officials. These will be based on the
curricula of the WTO Training Institute and we will also assist with
standards-setting, quality control and identifying suitably qualified
teachers. The courses will help developing countries build up a core
of advisors for Ministers by the time of the fifth WTO Ministerial
Conference. Preparations are well underway to launch soon these
courses at a university in Kenya and in another university in Morocco.
We hope too that the idea might eventually be carried into other
teaching institutions in Africa and other regions. It is work in
progress and ideally we should also prepare Masters courses for young
I would like to take this opportunity to
congratulate Dr. AMOAKO and his able team in Addis and in Dakar at
IDEP for their pertinent initiative to prepare and develop the ECA/IDEP
Trade-Related Capacity-Building, Research Programme to Africa. This
new programme will strengthen our joint efforts in capacity-building
in Africa. I am pleased to assure you of the support and collaboration
of the WTO Secretariat in the implementation of this programme.
As part of our technical assistance mandate, we
are also deepening our partnerships with other agencies. This is well
underway and we have received encouragement and enthusiasm from all
agency heads approached. Working with other agencies, we are
developing a new database and country files so that our collective
efforts are coordinated and so we can identify gaps in our delivery of
trade-related technical assistance. This will help us to be more
transparent and accountable to Ministers. We also need this early
warning system to find and fix gaps. Discovering problems next year
will be too late.
We know that the requirements of developing
countries in the area of WTO or in trade-related technical assistance
extends well beyond what the WTO can and should provide. We need to be
absolutely clear about the limits of what the WTO can do and cannot do
with regard to the Doha Development Agenda. Other Organizations can
help with physical infrastructure; that's their core business. We can
and do cooperate with other agencies. But we must stick to our core
business which is trade liberalisation, the Doha Development Agenda
and bringing down barriers to trade so that people everywhere can
Another important element in the roadmap is
getting out the right message to mobilise public support. The
potential benefits of the round are enormous and the economic and
development arguments compelling. But we have to communicate these
benefits in ways that rally not just trade negotiators but
politicians, policy-makers, the business community and all other
players in civil society:
developing countries don't need to wait until the conclusion of the
Doha Development Round. South/south trade in the 1990s grew faster
than world trade and now accounts for more than one third of
developing country exports, or about US$ 650 billion. The World Bank
reports that 70 percent of the burden on developing countries'
manufactured exports result from trade barriers of other developing
countries. The quicker those walls come down, the quicker will be the
returns to developing countries.
In economic terms, cutting barriers to trade in agriculture,
manufacturing and services by a third would boost the world
economy by US$ 613 billion. That's like adding an economy the size
of Canada to the world economy.
Abolishing all trade barriers could boost global income by $US
2.8 trillion and lift 320 million people out of poverty by 2015.
In development terms, the elimination of all tariff and
non-tariff barriers could result in gains for developing countries
in the order of US$182 billion in the services sector, US$ 162
billion in manufactures and US$ 32 billion in agriculture.
OECD agricultural subsidies in dollar terms are two-thirds of
Africa's total GDP. Abolishing these subsidies would return three
times all the ODA put together to developing countries. The UN
Secretary General Mr. Kofi Annan wants US$ 10 billion to fight
Aids; that is just 12 days subsidies.
Health and education are fundamental to any development
programme. The cost of achieving the core UN Millennium
Development Goal of universal primary education could be US$10
billion per year. Yet developing countries would gain more than 15
times this amount annually from further trade liberalisation.
All seven of the UN Millennium Development goals
— in health,
education, poverty, etc — would require US$ 54 billion annually,
— just one third the estimate of developing country gains from
We share the
view of African leaders that the responsibility of solving Africa's
development problems rests with Africans themselves, based on their
own identified priorities. This is why the New Partnership for
Africa's Development (NEPAD) is a welcome initiative and is an
important commitment by Africa to poverty alleviation and to place
African countries on a path of sustainable growth and development.
NEPAD establishes an important framework for policy ownership. Africa
needs to participate effectively in the multilateral trading system
and to reap the benefits available.
I am pleased to
note that there are representatives from most African countries on
this course as well as representatives and resource persons from the
African Development Bank, the Economic Commission for Africa, the OAU
and the WTO. This course is the first of a number of courses to be
organised by the ADB, ECA, OAU and the WTO in the years to come. These
courses are intended to broaden the outreach of WTO Agreements, rights
and obligations to African countries.
The course aims
at introducing you and at deepening your understanding about the
multilateral trading system thereby assisting the efforts of African
countries to integrate into the global economy. In addition to being
participants in this course, you are also trade policy officials in
your various countries. It is vitally important that officials like
you, who give instructions to your Geneva-based delegates and make
recommendations to Ministers, have a good understanding and knowledge
of the multilateral trading system, so that your countries can
participate fully, actively and effectively, in the WTO and reap the
many benefits it has to offer.
In the coming
two weeks, you will not only be introduced to the workings of the WTO,
but will also be briefed on the negotiations currently underway in
Geneva, with particular emphasis on what the negotiations mean for
African countries. The list of resource persons, including a strong
team of interpreters from the African Development Bank, ECA, OAU and
the WTO is very impressive and I am sure you will benefit greatly from
their various backgrounds and experiences.
In concluding, I would like personally to extend my
sincere thanks and appreciation to the Executive Heads of the three
Institutions, H.E. Amara Essy, Dr. K.Y. AMOAKO of UNECA, President
Omar Kabbaj of the African Development Bank Group, for their continued
support to the World Trade Organization as well as for their full and
entire commitment to the development of Africa. This collaboration is
going to be strengthened in order to facilitate joint actions by the
four organizations for the integration of African countries into the
multilateral trading system.
I do hope you find this course useful and
I thank you.