Magazine article International Trade Forum

Lifting People out of Poverty

Magazine article International Trade Forum

Lifting People out of Poverty

Article excerpt

All of us who are committed to poverty reduction know that complex problems require solutions at many levels. That is why Aid for Trade contributes to lifting people out of poverty and gives them the opportunities to create a better life for themselves and their families.

A broad smile spreads across Joseph Mwangi Migwi's face when he locks over the ten acres of farmland that surround him. Joseph Mwangi Migwi has a passion for Kenyan cotton.

'Cotton is the crop with the potential to wipe out poverty in this country. Firstly, because it is grown in marginalized areas where many poor people live. Secondly, because it is grown by small farmers, who constitute the majority of the population,' he says.

With support from Sida, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, Mwangi Migwi had the opportunity to travel to Thailand to participate in a course arranged by the International Trade Centre (ITC) as part of its Promoting African Cotton & Increasing Transparency in the Cotton Value Chain cotton training programme. This programme is geared towards providing producers in least developed countries (LDCs) with the conditions needed to become competitive and to increase their production of various goods. One of the programme's aims is to provide African cotton farmers with greater knowledge and to allow them to create a network of contacts on the world market. With the help of knowledge, information and facts, farmers like Mwangi Migwi have been able to get a much better price for cotton. Better pay also means better food, better education and better health for the families whose livelihoods are in and around the cotton trade.

'I think that more children will get to see the inside of colleges in the future,' says Mwangi Migwi.

All of us who are committed to poverty reduction know that complex problems require solutions at many levels. That is why Aid for Trade contributes to lifting people out of poverty and gives them the opportunities to create a better life for themselves and their families. Sweden and Sida support economic development and growth by strengthened regional economic integration because we believe in the power of trade to create development, not least by contributing to the creation of more jobs, which will benefit society as a whole.

With the 2015 deadline for the Millennium Development Goals approaching rapidly there are fewer than 1,000 days left--we are all worried about the fact that sub-Saharan Africa is lagging behind in the fulfilment of the objectives agreed upon by world leaders in 2000. This is one of the reasons why Sweden has a special focus on African countries and supports initiatives with different focuses and aims--all of which create more opportunities for people living on the continent.

We work at different levels to support our partner countries on their way to achieving economic development and growth through trade and job creation. It is a chain of actions.

At an individual level, we support people such as Mwangi Migwi and other local farmers and small businesses as they improve their knowledge of markets to allow them to get a better price for their products and to be a part of local and international trade.

At a national level, we contribute to the countries' work to improve the business climate, not only by developing harmonized structures and regulatory frameworks, but also by finding ways of matching the skills of young professionals to the needs of the private sector. …

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