The deputy aide for trade coordination and development division, at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) has pointed out that the current economic crisis across the world has created a huge impact on global trade, as shown by recent statistics released by WTO Research Department which forecasted a slow decline in World Trade to about 2.5%.
Aime Murigade, a representative of the World Trade Organisation was speaking on Tuesday during a four-day national training workshop on trade and development organized by the Ministry of Trade, Industry, Regional Integration and Employment at the Kairaba Beach Hotel.
The forum jointly funded by the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and United Nation Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), is aimed at building national capacity in trade and development with a view to supporting the nation's development drive through a vibrant trading mechanism.
Murigade disclosed that his organization is expecting trade to decline by 2014 to be about 4.5%. This situation, he acknowledged is very unusual as it signals that the financial crisis gripping the world economy is still ongoing. He further observed that the unemployment rate across the globe is also very high and that governments and trade organizations need to focus more on policies that can stimulate global growth. The World trade expert described the training as vital and timely for the country. He further highlighted some of the important areas in which the WTO is progressing , such as dispute resolution, monitoring and evaluation, as well as technical cooperation among others.
Baturu Camara-Ceesay, a senior economist at the Ministry of Trade, Industry Regional Integration and Employment who deputized the permanent secretary spoke at length about the importance of the training. She said that it is meant to strengthen National Trade Policy Decision Making on the special and differential provisions in the various WTO agreements, including the utilization of aid for trade opportunities and other related matters in the interest of the nation.
Madam Ceesay reaffirmed the WTO and its partners' commitment to trade and development noting that the organisation recognizes the linkages between trade and sustainable development. She stated that there are special provisions for both developing and least developed countries.
"It is envisage that during the four days, participants will be exposed to all relevant matters relating to trade and development, especially the special provisions on trade and development captured in the various agreements of the General Agreement of Trade and Tariff, " she said.
The senior economist at the Ministry of Trade, Industry Regional Integration and Employment challenged participants to actively participate in the sessions in order to boost trade opportunities for developing and least developed countries. She expressed optimism that the training would help to identify the achievements and the existing opportunities particularly in providing the much needed trade related issues, such as access to cheap energy, quality infrastructure and trade facilitation logistics.
Madam Ceesay assured that the government of the Gambia that the Ministry of Trade is poised to continue to work with the WTO, UNECA and other development partners for guidance, technical assistance and resources mobilisation for the implementation of the various trade policy programmes.
The programme management officer UNECA, Jane Karonga, also dilated on the significance of the training, saying it is meant to build the capacity of The Gambia for the challenges facing the African continent in terms of trading and engage the partners on the development of the continent.
She noted that the training course would enhance the understanding of participants on basic trading. Madam Karonga also described the training as very timely for the Gambia in the build up to the forthcoming Berlin conference on trade and development.