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Africa: Most African Business Leaders Have No Confidence in WTO – Survey

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Nine in every 10 corporate chiefs in Africa do not have confidence in World Trade Organisation (WTO) facilitating access to global markets.

More than 95 per cent of the 200 chief executives sampled in a survey by African Union-affiliated Pan-African Private Sector Trade and Investment Committee (PAFTRAC) said WTO is not effective in fulfilling its role.

PAFTRAC is a lobby speaking for the African private sector on issues around trade and investment.

Top on the list of constraints for businesses are tariff and non-tariff barriers that hinder African firms from growing their market share at the world stage.

“The current multilateral system has been unfair to Africa, a region which is home to 17 per cent of the world’s population and yet accounts for less than 2.7 per cent of world’s trade,” said Hippolyte Fofack, Afreximbank chief economist during release of the Africa CEO Trade Survey 2020.

Only four per cent of CEOs believe that the WTO is highly effective, according to the survey whose sample was drawn from 25 African countries.

Africa’s share of global trade which stood at 4.4 per cent in the 1970s, has stunted at 2.7 per cent for years largely due to unfair trade practices by developed countries.

“We need to ask ourselves, if WTO is still relevant,” said Jaswinder Bedi, President Export Promotion Council Kenya.

The survey was done to inform decisions of the next phase of ongoing consultations to select WTO’s next Director-General.

Kenya’s sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed is among eight candidates eyeing the top job.

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