Zimbabwe: Time to Prioritise Developing Nations

Global bodies should not renege from discussing issues affecting developing countries, Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister Ambassador Frederick Shava has said.

He made the remarks at the just ended 12th ministerial conference of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in Geneva, Switzerland.

Minister Shava said issues like, unequal pace of recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic, impacts of climate change, global food crisis, must not be ignored.

“In other areas, an agreed way forward still remains elusive,” said Minister Shava.

“Most disappointing to ourselves, is the lack of momentum on agriculture, including on cotton and the lingering reluctance by some, to seriously address the issue of trade distorting subsidies, and other imbalances, which continue to undermine the competitiveness and viability of agricultural production across the Global South – including in Zimbabwe.

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“Similar imbalances, subsidies and unfair practices continue to undermine nascent fishing industries in developing and least developed countries and pose an existential threat to small-scale artisanal fishing communities in those countries,” said Minister Shava.

“We are all aware of all the challenges and the extent to which they have exacerbated an already precarious situation for the less strong and more vulnerable states – which as we know, constitute the vast majority of the membership of this Organisation.”

“As ministers, we have not met for some five years. That fact, and the consequent lack of direct political impetus may well have contributed to the lethargic performance and lack of progress on already long – mandated negotiation areas; areas that are of absolute critical importance to the Global South – and which are today, even more critical as we strive to rebuild economies and livelihoods so devastated by the pandemic and the impact of Climate Change.”

Minister Shava said the WTO has suffered from many missed deadlines and we cannot leave Geneva without agreeing a way forward on these issues or on how we would wish to see our Organisation reformed and fit-for-purpose.

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