Africa calls for agricultural arrangement to open exchange impasse

African countries have insisted only an agriculture deal that favours the developing countries in Africa would make-or-break the trade impasse that has lasted for close to 15 years.

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Photo taken on Nov. 26, 2015 shows a truck loaded with sacks of agricultural produce along the muddy Sironko-Mbale road at Bugusege trading centre, eastern Uganda. As a country where over 80% of the population relies on agriculture, the Uganda government is prioritizing growth of infrastructure to economically viable areas to ease access to the markets. (Xinhua/Daniel Edyegu)
Photo taken on Nov. 26, 2015 shows a truck loaded with sacks of agricultural produce along the muddy Sironko-Mbale road at Bugusege trading centre, eastern Uganda. As a country where over 80% of the population relies on agriculture, the Uganda government is prioritizing growth of infrastructure to economically viable areas to ease access to the markets. (Xinhua/Daniel Edyegu)

“We must allow the intensive negotiations that are underway,” said Karanja Kibicho, Kenya Principal Secretary for foreign affairs at the ongoing four-day World Trade Organisation (WTO) Ministerial Conference. “It is agriculture that will deliver a Nairobi Ministerial Declaration.”

Photo taken on Nov. 26, 2015 shows a truck loaded with sacks of agricultural produce along the muddy Sironko-Mbale road at Bugusege trading centre, eastern Uganda. As a country where over 80% of the population relies on agriculture, the Uganda government is prioritizing growth of infrastructure to economically viable areas to ease access to the markets. (Xinhua/Daniel Edyegu)
Photo taken on Nov. 26, 2015 shows a truck loaded with sacks of agricultural produce along the muddy Sironko-Mbale road at Bugusege trading centre, eastern Uganda. As a country where over 80% of the population relies on agriculture, the Uganda government is prioritizing growth of infrastructure to economically viable areas to ease access to the markets. (Xinhua/Daniel Edyegu)
Kenya’s position resonates with a declaration by the Cotton Four, four West African countries leading the negotiations on the removal of cotton subsidies on behalf of 34 other African cotton producers.

The ministers from Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad and Mali, agreed in Nairobi on Wednesday, to declare a trade dispute if a deal is not reached to end agricultural subsidies at the Nairobi conference. They said they could pursue the issue in court if failed.

“We want a sustainable solution to deal with the issue of the massive subsidies. This is the front we have been fighting for 12 years,” said Aziz Mahamat Saleh, the Chadian minister of Economy, Commerce and Tourism.

While still insisting that the WTO is the best forum for the African countries and other players to get what they require to improve on their trade competitiveness, Saleh said there were other factors that stopped the poor countries from obtaining answers to their key demands.

“The agreements we have seen facilitate the West to trade more than we can trade. We could benefit more if we were granted the trade facilitation as LDCs to enable us to increase our exports. We would appreciate more trade support,” Saleh said at a press conference.

The Chadian minister said an agreement to remove the subsidies would re-establish a certain balance within Africa, which would be able to benefit only once it sets up a continental free trade area. Enditem

Source: Xinhua

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