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Thursday, 21 July 2011

Lamy hails “encouraging” third global review of Aid for Trade

In closing the Third Global Review of Aid for Trade on 19 July 2011, WTO Director-General Pascal Lamy hailed the potential of Aid for Trade in long-term trade capacity building for developing countries. He welcomed an improvement in accountability of recipient countries and stressed the need for a greater ownership of monitoring and evaluation efforts by developing countries themselves. With regard to financing, Lamy noted that infrastructures need to be improved. “While liquidity has returned to the markets, longer term structural issues have become more apparent. Access is now the challenge, not availability, particularly in Africa,” he said.

In his eyes, the future work programme should address a few core issues: resource mobilisation, the leveraging of other sources of finance, a mainstreaming of Aid for Trade in development, engaging the private sector, giving a central place to the aid effectiveness agenda in the Aid for Trade Initiative, exploring the intersections of Aid for Trade with other aspects and finally, fostering more regional integration in developing countries.

EU Development Commissioner Andris Piebalgs represented the European Commission in Geneva. In an interview with Bloomberg, Piebalgs highlighted the importance of the Aid for Trade Initiative to prepare developing countries for resilience in the international markets. “Aid is not sufficient to bring about a step change. Trade is,” the Development Commissioner said. The EU needed to support the construction of infrastructures, for example in energy, access to water or trade routes. In Africa in particular, the EU is also focusing on interregional trade: “In Europe, 72% of trade is interregional. In Africa, it’s only 12%.”

Source: WTO/CTA