By Alasdair Charnock
WTO Director-General Pascal Lamy introduced a report yesterday at the Third Global Review of Aid for Trade in Geneva which documented that the amount of money given to promote and foster trade in developing and least developed countries (LDCs) has grown 60% to $40 billion in 2009 since 2005.
Lamy claims that the “results range from increased export volumes, to more employment, to faster customs clearance times and impacts on poverty.”
While it is positive and encouraging that donor countries are committed to their pledges of Aid for Trade, this is no time for self-congratulation. Although Aid for Trade has grown compared to 2005, from 2008 to 2009 it only grew by 2%.
UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon recognised at this event that, despite the global economic climate, it remains imperative that international efforts are maintained and increased in order to reach the MDGs.
In addition, as the Prime Minister and Secretary of State for International Development have both said over the past week that not only should the UK be keen to deepen trade links with Africa so that these countries can develop quicker and reach MDGs, but it should also be viewed as good business.
In the same month that speeches by the Prime Minister and Andrew Mitchell demonstrate how high the eighth Millennium Development Goal is on this Government’s agenda, WTO Director-General Pascal Lamy insists that we maintain our commitment to fostering trade in the world’s poorest countries.