Africa needs fair trade, not aid, says AUC chief

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Africa needs fair trade, not aid, says AUC chief

By Kabir Alabi Garba

“For Africa, a development-friendly multilateral trading that enables the continent to increase its share of global trade by just one per cent will provide it with more development resources than it is currently getting through aid.” These were the words of the chairperson of African Union Commission (AUC), Dr. Jean Ping when he underscored the need for a consolidation of the partnership between Africa and India.

Dr. Ping  made these remarks May 21, at the opening of the meeting of African and Indian Trade Ministers in Addis Ababa in a prelude to the Second Africa-India Forum Summit billed for May 24 and 25, 2011, which is under the theme “Enhancing Partnership:  Shared Vision”.

The two-day forum is a follow-up to the first edition held in New Delhi, India in April 2008, which gave birth to what is now known as the New Delhi Declaration as well as Africa-India Framework for Cooperation.

According to Dr Ping, Africa’s aspiration for an inclusive and equitable global trading system that is development-friendly and devoid of imbalances against developing countries, informed the continent’s investment of time, human and financial resources in the Doha Round of the WTO negotiations nearly a decade ago.

In spite of the decade-long intensive negotiations, Ping however regretted that “the Doha Round is yet to be successfully concluded. Indeed, the Round appears now to be in an ‘intensive care unit’ and requires urgent attention for its survival.”

This failure requires that Africa and India explore geographical and cultural proximity amongst them for socio-economic growth.

According to the AU chief, the establishment of the Africa-India Forum Summit and the adoption of Framework of Cooperation have culminated in a blue print for the enhancement of the partnership.

This Trade Ministers meeting, he said, is in the context of the urgent need to strengthen Africa-India trade and economic partnership,” while emphasising its timeliness, especially, “in the light of recent developments in the global economic and trading systems.”

Dr Ping who was represented by the Chief of Staff at the Bureau of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Ambassador John Kayode Shinkaiye, said, “apart from the stalement in the global trade negotiations, the world has recently witnessed an economic and financial crisis that, in the post-war period, is unprecedented in its severity.

“Although, the crisis was not of the making of our two regions (Africa and India), they have not been spared from its adverse effects. While we make efforts to address such effects, the reform of the international economic and financial architecture must receive the needed attention. I am happy to learn that this joint meeting of African and Indian trade ministers will discuss both Doha Round of trade negotiations and the global economic and financial crisis”.

“The expectation of AUC is that your reflection on these issues will yield recommendations that will enable our countries to safeguard our common interests in the global trading and economic systems,” the AU chief of staff stressed.

The AU boss underscored the need for expansion of trade and investment flows between Africa and India because of India’s rise as a global economic power and its high and sustained rate of economic growth and Africa’s rich in natural resources that are currently in high demand globally.

He said the commitment of Africa to deepen economic cooperation with the emerging powers of the South is a sure of lessening its heavy dependence on the economies of the traditional partners in the North.

“As Ministers of Trade of Africa and India, Ping charged you have a major responsibility for coming up with ideas and recommendations that will enable our two regions take full advantage of these opportunities.”

He set the template of the economic and trade partnership that Africa seeks to have with India and other emerging powers of the South, saying “it must be of mutual benefits for both sides and one that is qualitatively different from that of its partnerships with the countries of the North.”

According to Dr Ping, “this requires that Africa’s exports to India should not comprise mainly of primary commodities but also of manufactured goods and value added products as well as services. It also implies that Indian investment flows into Africa should not be destined only to the exploitation of natural resources but also to manufacturing and to the enhancement of infrastructure and other trade-related capacity”.

He added that “Promotion of Indian-African joint ventures for increased value addition to commodities in Africa for the Indian and African markets as well as for third-country-markets must be a key element of the strategy for achieving this objective.”

With the public and private sectors of India and Africa working together, Dr. Ping is optimistic that the two regions “can meet the challenge of developing a mutually beneficial trade and economic partnership.”

 

  • Africa-India Summit
  • Africa-India Summit
  • Africa-India Summit
  • Africa-India Summit
  • Africa-India Summit
  • Africa-India Summit
  • Africa-India Summit
  • Africa-India Summit
  • Africa-India Summit
  • Africa-India Summit