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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 > Perspectives on the role of trade in alleviating poverty within the context of the developmental and policy imperatives of Southern Africa.
- Gichinga Ndirangu, Oxfam GB - SARPN
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Trade is an important feature of the economies of Southern Africa, which manifest variations, sometimes significant, on the relative importance of key sectors. This is mainly dependent on the degree of diversification within individual economies in the region.

For most countries in Southern Africa, agriculture is the dominant sector in terms of its contribution to the national GDP and numbers employed. The clear exception is South Africa, the region's most diversified economy where agriculture trails both mining and services in terms of contribution to GDP.

> Trade has the potential to reduce poverty in the region if structured in a way that meets the needs of the poor. However, poverty alleviation can only be secured where trade opens and expands opportunities for the poor to be more actively drawn into economic activity. At one level, this demands addressing structural limitations to their participation in trade within the domestic market and improving market access opportunities within regional and global markets.

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