The World Trade Organisation’s 10th ministerial conference, the first of its kind in Africa, kicks off today in Nairobi. Among key issues on the table are discussions on food security, energy, investments as well as micro-small and medium-sized enterprises.
Pressing issues that pit the less developed countries against their more developed counterparts in Europe and the Americas need to be discussed in a climate of mutual understanding, trust and respect.
Take for example China; a country that together with Britain, Russia and India are classified as least developed under the WTO agreements. It exports more to Africa than the European Union and the United States combined. However, African exports to China and other EU countries are negligible, largely due to anti-dumping barriers that allow countries like Japan and America to restrict exports from Africa. This costs the lesser developed countries in Africa an annual loss of Sh100 billion.
As a start, participants shoulf rectify these imbalances and allow farmers in the lesser developed countries to access bigger markets where the prices are competitive. This will give them the motivation to work hard and produce more.
The status quo can only impoverish the poor nations.