Keynote address by
Dr. Kipkorir Aly Azad RANA
World Trade Organization
Distinguished delegates from JITAP partner countries, and from the Permanent
Missions in Geneva,
Colleagues from the three agencies, ladies and gentlemen.
It is a great pleasure once again to address this gathering of JITAP managers from the field and Geneva representatives to this management meeting. Normally we organize such meetings in the field but this year, we are holding the Management meeting in Geneva back-to-back with the meeting of the Common Trust fund partners — donors, beneficiaries and agencies. This permits you field managers to participate in the CTF meeting this coming Friday.
JITAP II is now well on course since its launch in February 2003. 2003-04 had delayed implementation due to a number of factors, including the delay in finalizing country project documents, and the preparations for the Cancun meeting. Next year will mainly concentrate on enhanced delivery so as to frontload the implementation activities contained in the JITAP country programme documents.
DDA Negotiations back to top
Perhaps this is a good point to say a few things about the DDA negotiations
in which all of us have an interest.
It is important to recall that JITAP played a crucial role in preparing partner countries in Africa for Cancun. National compendia on negotiating positions helped the national delegations come well prepared to the conference thanks to intense interaction among the IICs and the organisation of a series of videoconferences on subjects of particular interest (Agriculture, NAMA and Services) immediately before Cancun to brief the delegations on the status of play. This allowed the African countries to play an active role at the conference.
As a follow up to Cancun, a series of videoconferences on Agriculture, NAMA and Services were held in the course of June and July this year to keep partner countries informed and up to date with DDA negotiations.
As we all know, in July, WTO Members reached a major decision in several key areas of the negotiations, which will be the basis for concluding the Doha work programme.
Modalities were agreed in the critical areas of agriculture and NAMA. If we can all maintain the momentum, there should be significant progress to report at the next Ministerial meeting in Hong Kong, China, in December 2005.
Even more significantly, Members took a decision to launch negotiations in trade facilitation — an area in which a number of developing countries have an interest in improving their trade performance so that their goods can flow smoothly. This will hopefully reduce transaction costs for a better economic efficiency.
Progress on implementation back to top
The initial difficult phase of launching the JITAP programme is over. All
country project documents were finalized, and what remains is to implement
what is contained in those project documents.
This implementation phase is a very crucial phase and it requires additional efforts from the agencies and the countries as well.
For the eight countries that were participants in the initial programme (JITAP I), it is imperative for them to accomplish the consolidation of their capacity in order to take part fully in the MTS, and possibly draw advantages from market access opportunities. These countries will phase out from JITAP soon, in order to let other countries benefit from the programme as soon as a decision is taken to extend the programme and new resources are allocated.
Toolkits for Module 1 (MTS institutional support, compliance and negotiation), Module 2 (Reference Centres and National Enquiry Points) and Module 4 (Product and services sector strategy) have been finalised. Each Toolkit is designed to help countries in the self-implementation of their activities. Several persons from the public, private and academic sectors were trained on the use of these Toolkits.
The agencies are now working on the two other toolkits for the MTS training and networking. These toolkits are the crosscutting modules and the platform for sustainability after the programme ends in your countries. These toolkits will be delivered to you during 2005. You will see during this meeting a very ambitious training programme that will help you consolidate the human capacity in order for your countries to engage fully in the MTS.
I am pleased to inform you that JITAP and IF are now closely coordinating their respective operations to maximise the synergy between these two complimentary TRTA initiatives. To better streamline the activities of the two important initiatives IF and JITAP, it has also been recommended by the agencies that those countries which are both in JITAP and IF should consider having one focal point and one steering committee for the two programmes.
This will also help our programming in the three agencies and also at your level in the field. This action has been taken in order to reduce the management burden on you. As we all know you are very stretched due a multiplicity of TRTA initiatives and other negotiation agendas (RTAs, EPAs, AGOA, etc.).
We intend to similarly build synergies with the STDF programme which was launched in Paris in April 2004, by five agencies (WTO, World Bank, WHO, FAO and OIE). This programme addresses issues of capacity in the area of SPS and food quality, where African countries are in urgent need of TRTA. WTO host the Secretariat of STDF.
I am also pleased to note that JITAP is also working with other relevant agencies such as FAO, UNIDO, ECA, UNDP and WIPO to coordinate activities and to deliver TA jointly, where feasible.
Exit strategy back to top
As we are aware, the agencies are proposing to the CTF-SG meeting
scheduled for Friday the consideration for an extension of the period when
the original eight countries are to exit so that they complete and graduate
successfully from the programme. We need to reflect very well on this point.
The draft proposal is in your documentation for the meeting and you can
reflect on it.
The graduation of the original JITAP beneficiary countries will allow other African countries the opportunity to benefit from this very successful programme once it is extended and new resources allocated to it.
Expected outcomes of this Management meeting back to top
Your deliberations should allow for:
An assessment of progress-to-date in implementing JITAP II, on a country-by-country basis and at a programme-wide scale. You should recommend solutions for speeding up this programme implementation. Look at all aspects of programming. You may also wish to study problems and issues such as:
timely access to the agencies' technical resources and expertise,
timely access to the programme’s financial resources,
implementation capacity in the partner countries,
and any other relevant matters;
A precise planning of country and programme activities in line with the
schedule of negotiations following the WTO’s General Council Decision of 1
August 2004 taking into consideration related deadlines in 2005. This will
help JITAP countries in participating actively and advantageously in the WTO
negotiations and other agendas namely EPAs and regional negotiations.
Identification of priorities at country and regional level, finalisation of implementation plans for 2005, and planning resource allocations by the agencies.
I hope that your attendance of the General Council made you realize the best way JITAP could assist you in coping with your negotiation requirements.
This meeting is also an opportunity for establishing or strengthening closer contacts and collaboration among the countries, to tap all opportunities to help each other, not only on the process of negotiations, but also in training and consolidating MTS institutions, through learning from each other’s experiences and best practices. The agencies are ready to support you in that effort.
Conclusion back to top
The quality of work that will be undertaken under JITAP and other technical cooperation initiatives will impact on the effectiveness of your countries’ participation in the next WTO Ministerial conference. I encourage you to take full benefit from the assistance provided by the agencies and the donor community,
Let me take this opportunity to most profusely and sincerely thank the
Donor community for their financial assistance provided and their continuous
support to this excellent programme.
May I also commend and congratulate the three agencies for their steady commitment to JITAP and the efficient work undertaken. In the same vein, I would like to congratulate our Coordination Unit for the work well done and for keeping the programme together.
I would like to take this opportunity as a fellow African to pay a special tribute to three non-Africans, Mrs. Lakshmi Puri, Director of the Division on International Trade in Goods and Services, and Commodities at UNCTAD, and her very able assistant Mr. Bonapas Onguglo, and Mrs. Adair Heuchan from the Canadian Mission, who have worked selflessly to contribute to trade-related technical assistance and capacity building in Africa.
I wish you fruitful deliberation during the next three days and look forward to seeing you all at the CTF-SG meeting on Friday.