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General News
Kufuor calls for fresh ideas to address trade challenges 4/21/2008

Accra, April 20, GNA - President John Agyekum Kufuor on Sunday challenged the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) to come out with fresh ideas to influence development policy thinking within the global community to end the marginalization of Africa in the expanding global trade.

The Continent''s share of export trade fell from 5.5 per cent in 1960 to about 2.1 in 1995, and has just recently climbed to 3.0 per cent following improvements in raw commodity prices.

With regard to the world service exports, it accounted for 3.4 per cent in 1980 but dropped to 2.4 per cent in 2006.

In the case of investment, Sub-Saharan Africa attracted barely 0.8 per cent of the global Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) Flows in 2007. Addressing the opening of the 12 session of UNCTAD in Accra, President Kufuor said globalization must be driven by a high moral imperative to ensure it did not leave in its trail any losers. He expressed concern about the situation where, Ghana and other African countries were subjected to the vagaries of a competitive global system that left them with no control of the pricing of their commodities and denied them the opportunity to protect their farmers.

Some Heads of State and Trade Ministers from the 193-member countries and civil society organizations have gathered for the six-day summit on the theme: "Addressing the Opportunities and Challenges of Globalization for Development."

President Kufuor said the Conference was a unique opportunity to give a boost to the fight against poverty and human indignity and to strategize to assist Africa and other developing nations to overcome under-development and reap the full benefits of globalization.

Fair market access through special and differential treatment, especially progressive reduction and eventual elimination of subsidies, South-South Cooperation, Aid for Trade, Official Development Assistance and FDI were factors that deserved attention.

President Kufuor said what the peoples of the world particularly the millions of deprived populations of developing nations expected were definitive time-bound actions that would impact positively on the quality of their lives.

He noted that past attempts at making trade to become a tool for development, to reduce poverty and close the income and welfare divide between the developed and developing economies had been far less than wholesome.

"The developed world has displayed half-hearted commitment and cynicism, while the developing world also exhibit resignation and scepticism."

President Kufuor said it was time both sides shook themselves out of the gripping doubts to share in a common vision of human-centred global village.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon said there was need for fresh thinking and fresh approaches to ensure that the benefits of globalization were shared equitably.

The poor countries must not continue to serve as engine of growth for others.

Touching on the world food price hike threatening to distort the global economy, he said if it was not handled well it could trigger a political and security crisis.

Mr Ban announced the setting up of a taskforce to address the problem and stabilize the situation.
Source: GNA

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