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May 22, 2014

Madagascar Prime Minister asks EIF to boost Madagascar's trading future

Madagascar Prime Minister asks EIF to boost Madagascar's trading future

22 May 2014

In a meeting held today at the World Trade Organization (WTO), H.E. Mr Christophe Roger Kolo, Prime Minister, signalled Madagascar's readiness to re-engage with the multilateral trading system with support from the WTO, the Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF) and development partners.

"We have gone through a difficult time in Madagascar, but the situation is now settled," H. E. Mr Kolo said. "We are now ready to show that we are committed to good governance and are working to improve the business environment, engaging with various stakeholders, including the private sector, to contribute to trade and development, while drawing on lessons learned from the past."

The Prime Minister emphasized the country's strong commitment to trade as an engine for growth and a tool to foster development. He noted that the EIF process in Madagascar had been reignited with the pre-Diagnostic Trade Integration Study (pre-DTIS) project and with the DTIS Update process currently underway. "We are aware that the EIF is an important programme, from which we have high expectations. In Madagascar, we have many priorities, and we aim to use the EIF as a platform to achieve economic objectives and to reduce poverty." The Prime Minister added that "one of our priorities is to boost the exports of agricultural products, such as vanilla".

The WTO Deputy Director-General, Mr Yonov Frederick Agah, on behalf of the WTO Director General, expressed the WTO's commitment to help Madagascar to fully integrate into the multilateral trading system. Mr Agah noted the benefits that Madagascar stood to receive at the multilateral level, including from the operationalization of the Services Waiver and from the Trade Facilitation Agreement, as a Least Developed Country following the WTO Ministerial Conference Decisions in Bali. 

"For our engagement with Madagascar, we look forward to the next Trade Policy Review in 2015 and Madagascar's participation in the Fifth Global Review of Aid for Trade. And in addition to the EIF support, and at Madagascar's request, support can be given from the WTO's Institute for Training and Technical Cooperation Division," Mr Agah said.

In the EIF, Madagascar was one of the pilot countries selected in 2001 for the earlier Integrated Framework programme and had its DTIS conducted and validated in July 2003. Part of the ongoing EIF work in Madagascar now involves a pre-DTIS project and discussions to kick-start a DTIS Update project. Drawing on this, the Executive Director for the Executive Secretariat of the EIF, Dr Ratnakar Adhikari, commended efforts made by the Government of Madagascar to put in place policies for a good business environment as a prerequisite for trade expansion.

"We stand ready to support Madagascar to integrate itself into the global and regional economy. Through our work, we have seen first-hand results of trade's important role in poverty reduction and economic development, for example in Mali," Dr Adhikari said. "In Mali, we have supported trade mainstreaming, and as a result, the Government has committed budgetary resources to support trade. We have also provided support to the mango value chain process, resulting in enhanced exports of mangoes to the European markets by women-led cooperatives. This has not only led to poverty reduction but also to women empowerment and gender equality." He concluded that EIF support can also be made available to Madagascar not only for identifying its trade related priorities but also to set up the institutional structures required for seeking, obtaining and managing trade related technical assistance.

H.E. Ms Annick Andriamampianina, Madagascar's Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the WTO, pledged that the Madagascar Mission in Geneva would follow up with the implementation of the EIF programme in Madagascar. She also noted the positive collaboration with the WTO in supporting Madagascar in undertaking trade-related technical assistance.

Also in attendance, Mr Shishir Priyadarshi, Director of the Development Division, WTO, remarked that the WTO was ready to help Madagascar's participation in the LDC Group and in the African Group of the WTO. He said that Madagascar should use the EIF programme through its Tier 1 and Tier 2 funds "as a stepping stone, a trigger and a catalyst to gain wider Aid-for-Trade resources".

In concluding the meeting, H.E. Mr Yonov Frederick Agah gave the Prime Minister reassurance of the EIF's commitment in Madagascar. He noted that "if the EIF can do that [delivering results] for the mango sector in Mali, they can do the same for the vanilla sector in Madagascar".

Notes to editors:  

The Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF) is a global partnership between Least Developed Countries (LDCs), Donors and International Organisations that support LDCs to be more active players in the global trading system by helping them tackle supply-side constraints to trade. In this way, the EIF works towards a wider goal of promoting economic growth and sustainable development and helping to lift more people out of poverty.

The programme is currently working with 46 LDCs worldwide and three recently graduated countries, supported by a multi-donor trust fund, the EIF Trust Fund, with contributions from 23 donors. A high-level pledging event in 2007 set a funding target of US$250 million over five years – and both additional and on-going contributions are being sought. The purpose of the EIF is to: mainstream trade into national development strategies; set up structures needed to coordinate the delivery of trade-related technical assistance; and to build capacity to trade, which also includes addressing critical supply-side constraints.

For further information, please contact: eif.secretariat@wto.org. and www.enhancedif.org.    


Any views and opinions expressed on Trade for Development News are those of the author(s), and do not necessarily reflect those of EIF.