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Trade for Sustainable Development – get connected and be inclusive

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Geneva | Switzerland | 11 July 2017
The Global Review 2017 of Aid4Trade of the World Trade Organization was successfully concluded by addressing a great number of trade-related opportunities and limitations such as standards, trade facilitation and intra-continental trade, particularly in Africa. What this year’s review unique was the successful balance between trade promotion through enhanced digital connectivity and social and economic inclusiveness. Present stakeholders agreed on the need to address overarching development priorities through trade like poverty reduction, sustainable livelihoods of low-income households and least developed countries’ access to markets.

The review - entitled “Promoting Trade, Inclusiveness and Connectivity for Sustainable Development” – offered an interesting debate on digital connectivity with politicians and international experts calling for enhanced efforts to get more than 1 out 4 African citizens connected. A Vodafone representative outlined, however, that such numbers are a spectacular success and that the digital market in Africa is growing at a very high speed. Interesting to note that the investments of Aid4Trade into digital infrastructure decreased from 3% to 1% per annum despite a rapid investment growth of Aid4Trade totalling now over 300 billion USD over the past 11 years. The joint publication Aid-for-Trade at a Glance of OECD and WTO gives excellent insights of the last 2 years of implementation.

BMZ new Aid4Trade strategy

In order to be more effective in support of trade for development, many members of the Platform are revisiting their portfolios and policies. One is the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) of Germany that also launched its new Aid4Trade strategy Free and Fair Trade as a Driver for Development. The strategy is based on the possible contributions of trade to the Agenda 2030 implementation as shown in the graphic of the SDG and trade nexus. The strategy is indeed a political response to the call for more social and economic inclusiveness of trade to achieve greater sustainability, particularly in least-developed countries.

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