Minister of Trade and Industry Nevine Gamea stressed the importance of strengthening joint efforts among African countries to deal with the current economic challenges.
This came during the minister’s participation in the meeting of African Ministers of Trade that was held on the side-lines of the World Trade Organisation’s (WTO) 12th Ministerial Conference (MC12) at its headquarters in Geneva, which will be held from 12 to 15 June.
She added that it is essential that African countries adopt a unified position that reflects their common interests within the WTO.
Furthermore, Gamea emphasised the importance of the WTO playing an effective role in confronting pandemics by facilitating access to treatments, vaccines, and medical supplies.
She also pointed out the fact that African countries — after nearly two and a half years of the outbreak of the pandemic — have not seen any real results in this regard.
“Africa is also suffering from a lack of food security as a result of the global economic crisis and its repercussions,” Gamea said.
Moreover, she stressed that the WTO’s MC12 outcomes should prioritise the development dimension and take into account the needs of developing countries, especially net food-importing ones.
Additionally, she emphasised the importance of working to advance the proposal submitted by Egypt on behalf of African and Arab groups and developing countries to respond to the challenges of food security .
The proposal aims to address food security through the development of a work programme aiming to improve the effectiveness of the implementation of the Marrakesh Agreement on measures related to the possible negative effects of the Agricultural Reform Programme in these countries.
It also calls for reaching an understanding on the commercial aspects of finding a compensatory financing mechanism that guarantees these countries financing for their food imports and giving them the temporary right to subsidise production of food.
Gamea added that it is also necessary to reform the WTO in all aspects of its activities and work, including reforming the dispute settlement system to take into account the difficulties that developing countries face when resorting to it.
“The WTO should also substitute differential treatment granted to developing countries with an appropriate package of policies and tools that enable developing countries to achieve their development goals,” she said.
The minister also recommended the WTO strengthen the e-commerce work programme to narrow the digital gap between developing and developed countries and help integrate developing countries into the digital economy.
Furthermore, she affirmed Egypt’s commitment to the multilateral trading system and its willingness to work with all member states to make the 12th ministerial conference a success in a way that helps advance economic development in Africa.
Gamea also lauded the efforts made by the Cameroonian delegation in Geneva as a coordinator of the African Group in the WTO.