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Peter Kuthan / AZFA
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« on: November 24 2009 »

As we are approaching the 50th anniversary of the serious drive to African independence, the question of how the continent can use trade to combat poverty and achieve development should be addressed.

The Cyber Seminar seeks to offer an alternative forum for debate, where an international audience will have the opportunity to discuss relevant issues facing Africa with civil society activists, policy makers and researches. The Cyber Seminar is moderated by the Norwegian Council for Africa and is open to everyone who wishes to participate.

The past fifty years have been a struggle for industrialisation in Africa. Despite attempts at building manufacturing capacity and diversifying production, the continent?s role at large in the global trading system is still one of exporting raw materials - with manufacturing and value addition taking place elsewhere in the world.
Today?s global trading regime can potentially deepen this situation, as the current climate of economic liberalisation and demands for tariff reduction can result in de-industrialisation. As a majority of African countries have low levels of industrialisation, a reduction of tariffs will result in local manufacturing/industry being incapable of competing with foreign imports. This could be the last nail in the coffin for industrialisation in Africa.

In the present WTO negotiations, Norway advocates for tariff reductions and free trade in the field of industrial products on the one hand, and protectionism and high tariffs in the field of agriculture on the other. This, despite the fact that Norway historically protected and nurtured its own infant industries for decades. How does this position fit with African positions?

What does a global trading regime that places the interests of African development and poverty alleviation above that of western export interests look like? What changes should be made to the present WTO negotiations for the system to contribute to the continent?s development?

Panellists:
Oguor Ongwen - Country Director of Southern and Eastern Africa Trade Initiative and Negotiations Institute (SEATINI), Kenya
the other panelists to be confirmed shortly..

Place: World Wide Web (http://www.afrika.no/english/Information/Cyber_Seminar/index.html)
Date: Thursday November 26th
Time: 14.00 ? 16.00 local time Norway (Central Eastern Time - GMT + 1)
You may log in and out of the debate as you wish

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The Norwegian Council for Africa works to promote economic, political and social justice in ? and for ? Africa. We seek to achieve this goal through the dissemination of accurate, fair and unbiased information. Vital to this endeavour is the promotion of African voices and sources of information.
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