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Africa's integration in the WTO multilateral trading system: Academic support and the role of WTO Chairs

Maarten Smeets

No ERSD-2021-9, WTO Staff Working Papers from World Trade Organization (WTO), Economic Research and Statistics Division

Abstract: The Marrakesh Agreement establishing the WTO recognizes the need for positive efforts designed to ensure that developing countries and especially the least developed among them secure a share in the growth in international trade commensurate with the needs of their economic development.This article discusses how the WTO contributes to facilitating Africa's integration into the WTO multilateral trading system. It is argued that, while African countries are actively engaged in the work of the WTO, securing their economic and policy interests, some main challenges remain. These include the need to further diversify production, linking to the Global Value Chains and developing adequate infra-structures facilitating digital trade as a vehicle for economic growth. The WTO, in close collaboration with partner institutions, lends its support to Africa in overcoming some of these issues through various programs, all geared towards trade capacity building. It is argued that the work undertaken by WTO Chairs and academic institutions under the aegis of the WTO's Chairs Program (WCP) is of critical importance in providing the analytical underpinnings for the policy choices in support of a fuller integration in the multilateral trading system. Preparations are under way meeting all the conditions for this program to be significantly expanded and deepened in 2021 with a view of further strengthening its capacity to provide support to beneficiaries and especially LDCs, hence African countries, integrating in the multilateral trading system.

Keywords: trade; capacity building; Africa; WTO; Global Value Chains; academic support (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: F10 F13 F19 F53 F55 F63 F68 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-afr and nep-int
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