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A three-day Africa-wide dialogue on ‘Gender, Africa and global financial and economic crisis’ began in the Ghanaian capital Accra, today, October 14.

 

Dr. Yao Graham, Coordinator of Third World Network-Africa (TWN-Af) organizers of the conference, in welcoming participants said the meeting was particularly important because of the deepening negative effects of crisis on African countries generally and women in particular.

 

The meeting, he said, is conceptualized to discuss not simply the short-term issues but also the long-term and more fundamental elements, reforms and changes that may be necessary to strengthen Africa’s ability to weather the current storm as well as strategically transform its economy into a robust and competitive one to serve the needs of Africa and its people especially women rather than external interests.

 

He observed that while there have been concerted Africa-wide efforts and proposals to deal with the crisis, most of these proposals have basically been about making demands for more aid, debt relief and deep cuts in social investment

 

Exactly a year after the financial crisis sunk its teeth into the global economy solutions proposed and adopted by African countries stand a high probability of further worsening the plight of Africa rather than resolve it.

 

 

to continue reading, kindly click here: http://www.twnafrica.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=214:africa-wide-dialogue-on-gender-and-the-financial-crisis-opens-in-accra&catid=52:gender-gera-research


 
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AFRICA TRADE NETWORK

 

STATEMENT OF POSITIONS AND DEMANDS

 African trade unions, farmers groups, faith-based groups, non-governmental organisations and representatives of governments, parliaments, and social movements, met in Cape Town, SA, from 1-3 October, 2009 at  meeting of the Africa Trade Network.  Jointly hosted by the TWN-Africa and Economic Justice Network of South Africa, the meeting discussed strategy towards the 7 Ministerial Conference of the WTO in Nov/Dec, 2009, and came to the following understandings.

 

 

To continue reading,kindly visit the link here: http://www.twnafrica.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=212:atn-statement-of-positions-and-demands-towards-wto-ministerial&catid=47:atn&Itemid=72


 
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The Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) convened a meeting of experts focusing on enhancing Africa’s participation in the WTO, from the September 7-8, 2009.

 

The meeting considered the status of the WTO from agriculture, non-agriculture market access, trade facilitation among others. The meeting also discussed Africa’s positions in the current negotiations.

 

In agriculture, the key issues of negotiations still include the Special Safeguard Mechanisms (SSM), Special Products and also tariff capping and designation of sensitive products. The overall trade distorting support is also another grey area as well as export competition issues export credit, export credit guarantee and the cotton subsidies.

 

The outcomes of the Delhi mini-ministerial outlined agriculture negotiations in a two tracks process. Firstly, the technical discussion on outstanding issues such as Special Safe Mechanism, sensitive products and secondly on the templates for WTO member’s schedules of commitment which includes the data needed to undertake this exercise.

 

more: http://www.twnafrica.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=210:uneca-experts-meeting-on-wto-enhancing-africas-participation&catid=35:world-trade-organisation&Itemid=84


 
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1-3 October: The Africa Trade Network(ATN) will hold a continent-wide civil society meeting on the WTO from 1st-3rd October 2009. The meeting will contribute to strengthening Africa civil society’s activities around the Ministerial Conference of WTO planned for November-December 2009. (http://www.twnafrica.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=205:pan-african-civil-society-preparatory-meeting-for-2009-wto-ministerial&catid=70:events&Itemid=118)


8 October: National Campaign Forum on October 8th, 2009 at Akoti in the Sefwi Wiawso District of Western Region. Concern Citizens of Sefwi are the hosting organisation. Facilitated by the National Coalition on Mining (NCOM)


14-16 October:  The Third World Network Africa (TWN Africa) will hold a Dialogue on the Gender Dimensions, Impacts And Implications of the Global Financial and Economic Crises in Africa from the 14 – 16 October 2009, in Accra Ghana.
(http://www.twnafrica.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=204:africa-wide-dialogue-on-gender-africa-and-the-global-financial-and-economic-crises&catid=70:events&Itemid=118)
 

 


 
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from: http://allafrica.com/stories/ printable/200906190620.html 19 June 2009 Can you imagine what will happen in a football match in which the almighty Brazil is allowed to field eleven of its world renowned players while the opposing side fields only a player? It sounds utterly absurd, doesn't it?

Simplistic as this analogy might seem, it does hold a lot when one takes a critical look at the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) being negotiated between the European Union (EU) and 75 African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries. The EPAs are aimed at fostering free trade between the two sides. This means for instance that there would be substantial elimination of tariff and non-tariff barriers within the free trade area created under each of the EPAs.

The analogy holds even firmer when the EU as a group of 25 mainly highly industrialized countries, enters the agreement not with say ECOWAS as a group but with individual countries within the sub-region.

As students of the Adam Smith school of thought, the Europeans believe that free trade maximizes social welfare. But social welfare for whom? What if the trade in question is lopsided in nature; such that one of the parties to the trade has far more potential than the other? What if one party which is asking for free market access has a far stronger industrial, financial and other economic base? What if that same party is the number one subsidizer of its agricultural sector in the world? "The EU is the world's largest subsidizer of agriculture and thus causes the greatest harm to the livelihoods of the world's poorest people in developing countries," (Faizel Ismail, 2007).

On the other hand, African economies remain largely underdeveloped while at the same time African governments are being advised by their development partners not to subsidize their already famished agricultural sector.

And then as usual, African countries have refused to come together to negotiate the EPAs as a group. Deadlines have been missed and the June 2009 deadline is about missed and it is still not clear whether a deal would be reached between ECOWAS and the EU any time soon. In the meantime, Ghana, seeing that other ECOWAS countries including Nigeria are dragging their feet, has gone ahead like Ivory Coast, to "initial" an Interim Economic Partnership Agreement (IEPA) with the EU. Indeed, it is said that the document presented to Ghana was nothing but a translated copy of what the EU presented to the Ivory Coast. Those who think it was not a big deal say the same rules apply in international trade. But Mr. Tetteh Hormeku of the Third World Network (TWN) would always argue that Ghana could have negotiated on its own terms for a better deal. It was indeed, in a hasty manner that Ghana, in December 2008 went ahead to "initial" the IEPAs. A source says that not only did "our development partners" keep reminding Ghana's negotiating team that they were the number one benefactors of the country in terms of loans and grants, but that they actually used a certain $65 million grant facility as a bargaining chip.

What is interesting is that while ECOWAS is telling the EU it cannot liberalise beyond 65%, Ghana has agreed in the IEPA to eliminate tariffs on 80% of its imports from the EU over a 12 year period. "If this is the case (Patel, 2007), Ghanaians might benefit from access to cheaper (imported) goods, but this potential gain must also be seen in the context of the impact on production and Ghana's broader long-term national development. ... for more, kindly go to the source


 

 

 
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