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Patrick Low, Former WTO Chief Economist


Twenty-first-century Africa is in a process of economic transformation in a rapidly changing and uncertain global economy. Significant progress has been made, but challenges remain to address risks and vulnerabilities. This working session reviews current approaches by African economic and trade policy makers for structural reforms to address commodity dependence and achieve diversification, improve productivity and competitiveness for integration into regional and global value chains. The session will also review key questions, facing the diverse economies on the continent, such as sustained domestic reforms based on effective policy combinations, trade facilitation and the quality of economic governance. The substance of the working session will be based on the book "African Perspectives on Trade and the WTO: Domestic Reforms, Structural Transformation, and Global Economic Integration". This book is based on contributions to the Nairobi Fourth China Round Table, which took place on the margins of the WTO's Tenth Ministerial Conference. The book will be launched by the WTO Director‑General back-to-back with this working session. The session will provide a range of perspectives on the future of the multilateral trading system and Africa's participation in the rules-based global economy.


  • Maika Oshikawa, Officer in charge, Accessions Division, WTO
  • Vicky Chemutai, Economic Affairs Officer, Accessions Division, WTO
  • Joshua Setipa, Minister of Trade and Industry of Lesotho
  • Bernard Hoekman, Professor and Director, Global Economics at Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies, European University Institute
  • Chiedu Osakwe, Advisor to the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, and Chief Negotiator, Nigeria
  • Axel Addy, Minister of Commerce and Industry, Republic of Liberia
  • Stephen Ndung'u Karau, Ambassador, Permanent Representative of Kenya to the UN