Improving economic opportunities and prospects for the world’s least developed countries remains a key global challenge
Originally published on Devex
At June’s Global Forum on Inclusive Trade for Least Developed Countries, governments, businesses, NGOs, and researchers gathered at the World Trade Organization’s headquarters in Geneva to discuss the importance of trade to the economic and social development of least developed countries — and the unique challenges they face.
The conference, hosted by the Enhanced Integrated Framework, had more than 300 participants, including representatives from more than 40 LDCs. With LDCs leading much of the discussion, the two-day conference provided an opportunity to highlight their commitment to global trade while sharing ideas and experiences on strategies for strong footing in the global trade environment.
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At the opening of the conference on June 13, Executive Director of Oshun Partnership Sarah Beeching explained that despite the boom of trade and global connections there was a growing divide between rich and poor countries. And this reduced opportunities for LDCs to respond to development challenges within their borders.
Director General of WTO Roberto Azevêdo, said in a pre-recorded video speech, that there were three challenges that needed to be addressed: Create a strong and robust trading system that supports and includes access to global markets for LDCs; ensure LDCs have the capacity to access trading systems; and increase advocacy for LDCs in what is a complex global trade environment.
With global tensions rising and threats emerging to trading systems, smaller economies tend to lose the most.
“So we must work to resolve these tensions and we have to do it as quickly as we can,” Azevêdo said.
The two days set in motion ideas to address challenges and better position LDCs in the global economy. Here are some of the key strategies and solutions being discussed.