• Wednesday, February 28, 2024
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How international trade policies are hindering Africa from growth and development

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International trade policies have long been a contentious issue for African countries, particularly those in West Africa. While trade can be an important driver of economic growth and development, there are many ways in which international trade policies can hinder Africa’s progress.

One of the biggest challenges facing West African countries is unfair trade agreements. Developed countries often impose trade agreements on African countries that are biased in their favor. These agreements may require African countries to open up their markets to imports from developed countries while maintaining barriers to exports from Africa. This can lead to a flood of cheap imports that undermine local industries, making it difficult for African businesses to compete.

In addition, many developed countries impose high tariffs on imports from Africa, which makes it difficult for African businesses to access their markets. This reduces the demand for African goods and services and can limit Africa’s ability to export. Furthermore, developed countries often provide subsidies to their farmers, which reduces the cost of their agricultural products. This makes it difficult for African farmers to compete in the global market, reducing the competitiveness of African farmers.

Another issue is the strict intellectual property rights laws that developed countries impose on African countries. These laws can limit their ability to access new technologies and medicines, negatively affecting health and education in African countries, as well as limiting their ability to innovate and grow.

Moreover, African countries often have limited representation in global trade negotiations. This means their interests may not be adequately represented, resulting in trade policies that do not benefit African countries or take their specific needs and challenges into account.

Overall, these factors can make it difficult for African countries, particularly those in West Africa, to grow and develop through trade. In order to address these challenges, it is important for African countries to work together and advocate for fairer trade policies that support their economic growth and development. By doing so, Africa can better position itself to compete in the global marketplace and achieve sustainable economic growth and development.

Since it is crucial for Africa to be involved in these discussions in order to foster a bilateral understanding and avoid being undermined. There are several steps that African countries can take to get involved in international trade policy-making and harness their growth and development.

Firstly, African countries can work to build strong alliances with other developing countries. By working together, these countries can have a greater impact on global trade negotiations and advocate for policies that are fair and equitable for all parties involved. In addition, this can help to ensure that African countries’ interests are better represented in these discussions.

Secondly, African countries can invest in building their own capacity to negotiate trade agreements. This may involve investing in training and education programs for trade negotiators and building strong institutions that can effectively represent Africa’s interests in international trade negotiations. By doing so, African countries can better position themselves to negotiate fair trade agreements that support their economic growth and development.

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Thirdly, African countries can explore alternative trade agreements that do not involve developed countries. For example, Africa can explore trade agreements with other developing countries, such as China and India, that may be more favourable to their interests. By diversifying their trade partnerships, African countries can reduce their reliance on developed countries and reduce their vulnerability to unfair trade practices.

Finally, African countries can work to build a stronger domestic economy that is less reliant on international trade. This may involve investing in infrastructure, education, and innovation to build a more competitive and sustainable domestic economy. By doing so, African countries can reduce their dependence on international trade and better control their economic destiny.

In conclusion, Africa’s participation in international trade policy-making is crucial for its growth and development. By building strong alliances, investing in capacity-building, exploring alternative trade agreements, and building a stronger domestic economy, African countries can better position themselves to negotiate fair trade agreements that support their economic growth and development. By doing so, Africa can harness the potential of international trade to achieve sustainable economic growth and development.

Dr Adetunji is CEO, MO Group