DIRECTOR-GENERAL NGOZI OKONJO-IWEALA

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DG Okonjo-Iweala thanked the Prime Minister for his visit and his commitment to the multilateral trading system, and said, “We have had very rich discussions on the challenges and opportunities presented by the production and marketing of cotton, with a view to further advancing development issues in Mali and the C4 economies.”

She referred to the work currently taking place at the WTO: “WTO Members are currently engaged in discussions to find areas of convergence for MC12, particularly in agriculture.”

The DG added the following: “At the request of the C4 countries, the WTO Secretariat has launched a study on COVID-19's impact on the cotton trade, which will be published in November. The WTO would also like to see enhanced dialogue with financing partners. In this respect, the possibility of a second Partners' Conference on support for cotton production, processing and trade in least developed countries is envisaged on the margins of MC12.”

On a visit to the WTO to mark World Cotton Day, held on 7 October, the Prime Minister emphasized the importance of cotton as a source of livelihood for many Africans: “Some four million people in Mali depend directly on cotton production for their livelihood. […] Cotton is a commodity, a generator of growth and a provider of jobs and revenue that is able to help our countries fight poverty more effectively, particularly in rural areas and within disadvantaged communities.” H.E. Mr Maïga called for greater consideration of cotton in the discussions of the international community. The speech he delivered at the General Council meeting on 7 October is available here.

The Prime Minister also called for efforts to achieve trade-related multilateral outcomes: “Mali, as part of the C4(1), is fully committed to working towards strengthening this multilateral system. My country is also totally committed to action, particularly that aimed at concrete and measurable outcomes that are likely to have a significant impact on the living conditions of millions of people who are, regrettably, still unable to fully enjoy the benefits and opportunities provided by international trade.”

Mali has been a WTO Member since 31 May 1995.

  1. The members of the C4 group are Benin, Burkina Faso, Mali and Chad. back to text

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