Thursday, June 20, 2024

Africa: Inclusive, Sustainable Trade Will Help Africa Realise Its Potential, Says Botswana's Masisi

Geneva — Inclusive, sustainable trade will allow Africa to realize its full potential, Botswana’s President Mokgweetsi Masisi has told the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Masisi was speaking at the Geneva-based WTO on May 2 during a three-day state visit to Switzerland.

Delivering an address as part of the organisation’s Presidential Lecture Series, he said Africa faces numerous challenges that have hindered its economic development, primarily due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The pandemic has had devastating effects on the health and well-being of our citizens, as well as on our economies,” said Masisi.

He said that as a result, Africa is looking to the WTO to facilitate fair trade, allowing us to participate fully in the global economy.

“We believe that trade has the potential to improve standards of living if carried out in a manner that ensures that developing and least developed countries secure an equitable share correspondent to their needs and economic development,” said the Botswana president.

He said the world’s trading rules should be non-discriminatory and mutually advantageous to all members of the WTO, which is the global body regulating international commerce.

Future of global trade

“Botswana – and I believe Africa at large – recognizes the significance of these outcomes in shaping the future of global trade,” said Masisi.

“Therefore, it is imperative to ensure that the implementation process is transparent and inclusive, taking into account the diverse needs and concerns of all members.”

Only by doing so can the WTO build a sustainable framework for global trade that benefits all nations, particularly developing countries, he added.

Masisi’s address was vigorously applauded.  The event was attended by WTO ambassadors, Swiss authorities, heads of intergovernmental organizations and representatives of non-governmental organizations, business and academia.