Africa: "OECD Must Walk the Walk"; African Ministers of Finance and Economic Development Have Set This Month (July) as the Deadline for Rich Countries to Remove Obstacles Holding Up International Trade Negotiations. Gina Jere Reports

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At their annual general meeting in the Ugandan capital, Kampala, at the end of May, African finance and economic development ministers sent out a powerful message: Enough is enough and it is time the rich countries put their money where their mouths are.

The ministers unanimously agreed that member countries of the Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) have done little to remove high tariffs and trade-distorting subsidies to their farmers, to the detriment of African economies.

"These issues are a litmus test of their commitment to Africa's development," they said in a statement in which they set this month (July) as the deadline for the rich countries to remove all obstacles hindering international trade negotiations. But it will be a miracle if the rich, who have talked the talk for so long, now take up the African challenge and walk the walk.

Hoping against hope, the African ministers called for full momentum to be restored to the World Trade Organisation (WTO), "through the adoption of meaningful frameworks in agriculture, non-agricultural market access and other relevant areas".

Talks in the WTO's Doha Development Round stalled last year in Cancun, Mexico, after disagreements about how far and how fast rich countries should give developing countries greater access to their markets. …