chapter  10
16 Pages

Africa and the Doha Round

ByRICHARD E. MSHOMBA

At its best, the World Trade Organization (WTO) helps all member countries make the most out of their similarities and differences for the benefit of all. The WTO serves to promote trade through negotiations and agreements to reduce trade barriers. Trade is an important tool for development. Membership in the WTO includes the poorest and richest countries in the world. Some of those rich countries were colonizers of the poor countries, the poverty of which can be attributed, in part, to colonialism. Some of the WTO members have mature democratic systems, and some are under a one-party system, a monarchy, or a dictatorship. These differences not only produce diverse economic intereststhey also explain diverse capacities to negotiate. In this chapter I briefly consider the history of African countries in the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and its successor, the WTO. I then examine the capacity of African countries to negotiate. Although that capacity is limited, African countries are making remarkable strides. Finally, additional challenges and opportunities for the WTO and African countries in the Doha round of negotiations will be addressed. Negotiations in the WTO will always be complex and at times contentious, as demonstrated by the stalemate in this round of negotiations. Nonetheless, the stalemate provides opportunities for retrospection and charting new paths for negotiations.