OP member Jeremy Lefroy spoke to the Today Programme on Saturday morning to discuss the role of trade as a means of global poverty reduction in light of the UN High Level Panel’s report that was published last week.
There are 1 billion people still living on less than $1.25 a day, but there is a chance to lift them out of extreme poverty in the next 20 years. Politicians, government official and aid agencies will be discussing at the UN this week what should replace the Millennium Development Goals when they expire in 2015. The High Level Panel, of which David Cameron is a co-chair, published its report last week, but the focus of attention for the new agenda has yet to be set – will it be trade and open markets or good governance and social programmes?
Jeremy pointed out the vital role that trade has played already, as seen by the 600 million or so people who have already been lifted out of poverty in China alone. While reminding listeners that it is not a choice between trade and aid – the two are not mutually exclusive – he said that the successor to the MDGs must treat lifting barriers to trade as a crucial area.
“The eradication of poverty by 2030 will be done substantially through trade”, said Jeremy. “It’s estimated that 90% of new jobs created in the developing world will be in the private sector and without job creation we are not going to eliminate poverty and we are certainly not going to raise the taxes needed to provide the health and education services that people need.”
Listen to the programme here (33.30 – 39.20)