By Ndungu Wainaina
The official 10Th World Trade Organization (WTO) Ministerial Conference starts in Nairobi, Kenya on Tuesday, 15 December 2015. The only so far binding agreement achieved is the trade facilitation.
Africa needs to shift its current consumption and commodity-driven growth path onto a more sustainable industrial development path. The continent has to design a working strategy for integration that combines market integration and cross-border trade policy coordination to diversify production and boost intra-African trade.
The critical concern for Africa at the Ministerial Conference in Nairobi is the imbalanced nature and rules of the multilateral trading system. This includes the need to eliminating agricultural export subsidies, providing duty/quota-free market access, accessing technical knowhow transfer, and strengthening special and differential treatment provisions.
Africa needs legally binding open markets, technical assistance and capacity building to increase export led economies. However, there are major challenges facing Africa especially continued protectionist policies by developed economies, global rapidly trade operation changes and new emerging bilateral and regional trade initiatives.
Predictable and inclusive multilateral rules-based trade system, market accessibility and long-term solution to subsidies is critical for Africa and form core negotiation agenda in Nairobi Ministerial Conference