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CUTS-ARC: Civil Society Consultative Forum on Least Developed Countries (LDC)

Livingstone, Zambia

23 - 25 June 2005

[Introduction]  [Programme]  [Papers]  [Civil Society Memorandum]  [Civil Society Statement]
Papers > LDC Positions in the World Trade Organisation-AoA
- James Chansa, CUTS-ARC
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Agriculture in Africa and LDCs is not just a business issue. It iIt is difficult to overemphasize the importance of agriculture and the trade in agricultural products for Africa. Farming in LDCs employs some 70 per cent of sub-Saharan Africa's work force and generates an average 30 per cent of the region's gross domestic product. Yet rural Africans are among the poorest people in the world. Production in much of Africa is hampered by poor soils, erratic rainfall and severe under-investment in rural infrastructure and inputs. These domestic difficulties have been exacerbated by the current global trade rules in agriculture. For example, the 50 least developed countries (LDCs), representing 10.5% of the world population, have less than 1% of world exports. A group of 50 LDCs is not a small group, but more than the EU.

Therefore LDC positions at each ministerial conference should be taken to be a livelihood rather than a merely a business strategy. For LDCs a successful position is one that focuses on poverty alleviation and integration in the world trading system. Here LDC classification used is according to United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.

For any future strategy, it is important to take stock of earlier positions. This presentation takes note of the LDC positions at earlier ministerial conferences beginning with the Singapore Ministerial conference of 1996.

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