The World has its Back Turned against Africa
Lack of global dialogue and subsidies for farming sector damage Africa's chances of competitiveness
How can Africa's farmers compete with the more developed countries when these continue to subsidize their farmers heavily, making their products more competitive?
According to the UN Economic Committee for Africa report, released last week, Africa may not be able to reach the objectives established at the Millennium Summit in 2000. The report quotes two reasons: lack of dialogue and an increase in subsidies for the agricultural sector in the United States of America.
For Africa to reach the objectives drawn up in the Millennium Development Goals, the World Trade Organization will have to respect the guidelines chosen in the Doha Conference, 2002, namely to make a reform in agricultural trade, which was one of the main goals of this conference.
As always, words speak louder than actions. For the most part, Africa has long been a place providing cheap raw materials and labor and having the right to nothing in return.
To complicate the situation for their African farmers, the government of the USA decided in May 2002 to increase the subsidies for the agricultural sector by 67%, translated in 51.7 billion USD, reducing prices, increasing competitiveness, making it impossible for African farmers to sell their products in that market.
Mozambique was quoted in the report as a good example, its economy growing 12% against a continental backdrop of 3.2%. The economic policies followed by the government of Joaquim Chissano are cited in a list of seven case studies to be followed elsewhere (Mozambique, Egypt, Gabon, Ghana, Mauritius, Rwanda and Uganda).
In Mozambique, the UN highlighted the successful policies aimed at the eradication of poverty, stimulating whole communities to become competitive and to leave the cycle of chronic poverty.