THE Secretary General of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), Mr Supachai Panitchpakdi, yesterday stressed the need for a new global management system, which he called the “second generation of globalisation”.
Drawing a distinction, he pointed out that the first wave of globalisation was characterised by the uneven relationship between northern developed countries and less developed countries of the south, and accentuated the donor-recipient, rich-poor divisions of the world.
“The second generation of globalisation calls for a new global management for all to participate and share in the management and benefits of the process,” he told delegates and participants at the 12th Session of UNCTAD in Accra.
This was during an interactive session on the theme “Emergence of a new South-South trade as a vehicle for regional and interregional integration for development”.
Mr Supachai said an alternative means of sharing the benefits of the new wave of globalisation more equitably ought to be found to make the world order tilted towards more happy nations.
In the interim, UNCATAD is working with international agencies such as the World Bank and other affiliate organisations on the equitable share of the gains of globalisation.
Sharing his thoughts on the emergence of the increases in trade among developing countries, commonly known as South-South trade, which is most common among developing economies in Asia, Mr Supachai listed certain features for consideration by delegates.
The first was the insatiable demand for energy and minerals that resulted in growth in the extractive industries.
He, however, noted that the gains were not kept in the country as revenue was siphoned abroad, while capacities of local and indigenous people were not built and skills were not transferred.
He said that meant that the requisite knowledge and skills for real economic growth was not developed.
Coupled with that, he pointed out market access was still limited to the most significant and already established networks.
Another feature characterising South-South trade, Mr Supachai said, had to do with the opportunities created in the Doha Development Agenda for discussions within the trade groupings.
He advised that in seeking solutions to challenges in trade, all had to endeavour not to create new problems while unity had to underpin all negotiations within the Doha agenda.
Concerning the possible advantages that less developing African countries could achieve from South-South trade arrangements, the Secretary General said UNCTAD, in its Trade and Development Report of 2007, showed that integrative efforts among countries of similar economic and development capacities resulted in a boost in the various sectors of their economies.
He said for Africa to attract more FDI???????, there was the need for integration, as the differences in trade rules and regulations at borders, as well as the different barriers in all the countries, made it impossible to attract such facility.
A Commissioner of Trade, Customs and Free Movement of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Alhaji Mohammed B. Daramy, said although the European Union (EU) had been Africa’s biggest trading partner for a considerable number of years, Africa’s share of trade with it had consistently declined.
He stressed the need for Africa to have an integrated system in trade and economics, before the Economic Partnership Agreement ((EPA) should be signed.
“Market access alone cannot bring development and we will not sign any paper just for trade,” he added.
Alhaji Daramy deplored the current global food crisis, attributing it in part to the lack of commitment of the traditional trading partners of Africa to helping with the infrastructural development for enhancing the productive capacity in food crops.
With the changing global order, he told delegates that African countries were no longer comfortable as producers and suppliers of raw materials but wanted to add value to their produce and UNCTAD had to facilitate that.
When he took his turn, the Deputy Minister of Commerce and Industry of South Africa, Mr Robert Davies, said the South-South trade had the significant potential of contributing to development in the new world.
He said the opportunities included value addition of primary commodities, the potential for diversified trading that could pull all developing countries towards growth.
Mr Davies impressed upon delegates that regional integration of African countries was an imperative as they engaged with countries of the South, but addressing the supply capacity constraints of African countries was crucial.
Other contributors at the session included representatives of Oman, Japan, Singapore, and China, who shared experiences in regional integration, their willingness to engage Africa and the opportunities and challenges.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and International Business, Barbados, Mr Christopher Sinckler, who moderated the session, said it was critical for African countries to have a united front in the emerging global trends.
DAILY GRAPHIC, FRIDAY,APRIL 25, 2008, PG 20 (SPREAD)