Securing Sustainable Solutions to the African Debt Crises

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After Bali, WTO members’ attention has been on the post Bali agenda and the potential effects of this package. AFRODAD feels that there is need for developing countries to understand the impacts of the Bali Package and make informed decisions in the post Bali agenda so that they equally benefit from the multilateral trading system. The objective of this paper is to give a brief of the Bali Package’s trade facilitation and agriculture agreements, assess their likely implications to Africa as well as proffer recommendations as the negotiations for the remaining Doha Development Agenda (DDA) issues begins.

The Bali package does not serve the interests of developing countries especially those in Africa, because of Africa’s small share from multilateral trade. African share of world total merchandise exports declined from 6.3% in 1980 to 3.2% in 2013 whilst merchandise imports accounted for only 3.4% of world’s total imports in 2013. The decline can be attributed to among other factors the exportation of commodities like copper, coffee and diamonds which have fallen in value to manufactured goods like clothing and electronics whose value has sharply risen. Further, high transport costs of African exports also place its exports at a higher price when compared to other markets such as the Asian market. In addition, the multilateral trading rules are skewed in favour of the developed countries since most of the developing countries where not yet WTO members in 1947 when the rules were made.

Developing countries and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) raised concerns during and after the Bali Ministerial Conference on the likely effects of the Bali Package on Africa in general and on their economies in particular. The Bali package will result in increased costs of implementation of the binding commitments such as regulatory, training, institutional and infrastructure costs. In addition, the agreement will likely result in higher import levels in developing countries because of weak export capacity.

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