Central African Republic, speaking on behalf of the African Group, said that
increasing resources for the initiative has become even more important in
the light of the global financial crisis, which has affected many developing
Cameroon, speaking on behalf of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP)
countries, supported the African statement, and commended recent efforts by
the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank to expand Aid for
Trade resources. It also stressed the need for a holistic approach of
institutions and governments in Aid for Trade.
Dominica, on behalf of the small, vulnerable economies (SVEs), underlined
the importance of Aid for Trade in their development programmes.
The Committee on Trade and Development meeting was based on a
background note “Progress in Implementation of the 2010-2011
Aid-for-Trade Work Programme”, which reported on latest
developments in the following areas: resource mobilization, mainstreaming,
implementation, monitoring and evaluation, and the private sector.
On resource mobilization, the World Bank reported to the Committee about its
new Trade Facilitation Facility with a US$ 40 million trust fund to help
developing countries improve their competitiveness and reduce trading costs.
Regarding “mainstreaming”, the chair noted that the WTO Secretariat had
conducted earlier in the day a workshop on Aid for Trade and Agriculture.
The focus of the workshop was on how trade was being mainstreamed into
national and regional policies and donor support for the agriculture sector
in developing countries.
The OECD reported on efforts to improve the monitoring and evaluation of Aid
for Trade projects. It presented a working
paper on “Binding Constraints to Trade Expansion: Aid for Trade
Objectives and Diagnostics Tools”.
The next CTD Aid for Trade meeting is scheduled for the last week of May
Workshop and WTO-ITC event
In the morning of 17 March 2010, the WTO
Secretariat organized a workshop on “Aid for Trade and Agriculture”. The
objective was to examine the role that Aid for Trade can play in addressing
the supply-side and trade-related infrastructure constraints of the
agriculture sector. It reaffirmed the key role that the agriculture sector
plays in economic growth and poverty reduction and provided a greater
understanding of how Aid for Trade works in practice.
The workshop was organized into two sessions. In the first session,
scene-setting presentations were made by the Food and Agriculture
Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the World Bank, the International
Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the Organisation for Economic
Cooperation and Development (OECD). In the second session, members discussed
their national and support programmes.
The workshop laid bare the steady decline in agricultural investment which
has occurred since the mid-1980s — a decline which has damaged the long-term
prospects of the agriculture sector and its ability to generate the
productivity increases needed to respond to the challenges of population
growth, climate change and physical constraints (land area, water scarcity).
The World Bank suggested that agriculture had been considered a “sunset
industry” in many developing countries.
FAO, IFAD and OECD all stressed that agriculture was a private sector
activity, much of which was conducted in the informal economy, in which
small-scale producers predominated. Much government and donor investment had
little impact since policymakers had failed to understand the challenge of
market integration. New investment approaches based on value chains promised
to awaken “dormant high rates of return” available in the sector.
Figures highlighted by the agencies underlined that while official
development assistance (ODA), foreign direct investment (FDI) and investment
by government from the public budget were needed, the greatest investment
gap came from the private sector in developing countries. FAO estimated
private current investment at some US$ 140 billion (some 3.5 times higher
than government investment and 18 times more than ODA flows). To meet global
demand in 2050, FAO estimated that an additional US$ 60 billion was required
in private investment. The suggestion was made that getting the business
environment right was essential to unlocking private sector investment
potential in the agriculture sector. Aid for Trade should play a catalytic
role in this regard.
Research by all four organizations highlighted the “special powers” that
effective investment in agriculture could have on growth in the rural
economy, economic growth and poverty alleviation. A growing body of research
was developing which supported the case for pro-poor growth in the
agriculture sector. The World Bank highlighted ongoing work it was
undertaking to promote responsible investment in agriculture and so allay
concerns that inward investment would not lead to a land grab in developing
Also on the same day, the WTO and the International Trade Centre (ITC) held
a joint lunchtime event “Connecting West African Farmers to Market”. It was
an opportunity to deepen the analysis of issues raised in the morning
session and place them in a West African context. It was also a useful
follow-on to the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Review
meeting held in late January.
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