Statement by Martin Tsounkeu (Africa Development Interchange Network) in Round Table E on behalf of CSO FfD Group and WWG on FfD

Thank you Chair.

I am Martin Tsounkeu, General Representative of Africa Development Interchange Network (ADIN), from Cameroon, Member of the CSO African Working Group (AWG), speaking on behave of the CSO FfD Group and WWG on FfD.

We all know that developing countries in the current setting of international trade are raw commodity-suppliers. This keeps them largely outside the production processes in Global Value Chains and limits their gains. It essentially creates an unfortunate set of inequalities, coming in addition to the complexity that arises from the emergence of “mega” trade agreements, where their position is often weak. Needless to say, there is a serious lack of capacity issue here, which is exacerbated by hindrances related to technology transfer. The Addis Ababa Action Agenda (AAAA) does well to address capacity building in its paragraph 9, as “processes to develop and facilitate the availability of appropriate knowledge and technologies globally”.

(That being said, and gathering from the substance provided by the panellists and other speakers), particularly the insights on the need for capacity building, in an African perspective, my point will touch on the resulting global systemic inequalities that affect developing countries, with regard to the international trade and financing architecture. The related problems and challenges are many, particularly for Africa from where I come. But I wish to refer to just a few here:

  • The lack of meaningful progress in the Doha Development Round;
  • The confinement of developing countries into the low value-added section of the global value chains;
  • The inability of developing countries to compete on the global industrial market, due to technology limitations in the fashionable context of liberalisation;
  • The continued volatility of commodity prices as a result of financial deregulation that affect exports from developing countries.

If we make the FfD follow-up Forum strong and effective in the three dimensions proposed by the Civil Society (monitoring, normative political discussion and process organization), then we can fully respond to the need to access the progress achieved in tackling systemic trade inequalities, at all stages of the implementation of the AAAA, in line with the 2030 Agenda. It is important to stress here that the consequences of these imbalances touch many aspects of the living conditions in developing countries. They in fact seriously affect food security and employment, as well limit the ability of these countries to generate sufficient resources, with the very high risk of getting them trapped in poverty again for long.

In that respect, capacity building is essential as part of the FfD implementation agenda. Its impact must be assessed on a constant basis, in addition to the urgent actions that are needed, for a proper adjustment in the international trade and technology for equitable industrialisation landscape.

In conclusion it is crucial, when we consider the capacity building issue in Financing for Development to:

  • Critically re-examine the contribution of the multilateral global trade system to sustainable and equitable development;
  • Undertake human rights impact and sustainability assessments of all trade agreements;
  • Strengthen the role of the UNCTAD in ensuring capacity building for developing countries, as well as a human rights-based and integrated treatment of trade and interrelated issues in finance, technology, investment and sustainable development;
  • Provide adequate national policy space to implement development-oriented industrial, social and environmental policies, including intellectual property rights regimes that guarantee affordable medicines.

 

Reference to FfD Drafts

Para 14 in Doha:  “The increasing interdependence of national economies in a globalizing world and the emergence of rules-based regimes for international economic relations have meant that the space for national economic policy, that is, the scope for domestic policies, especially in the areas of trade, investment and international development, is now often framed by international disciplines, commitments and global market considerations. It is for each Government to evaluate the trade-off between the benefits of accepting international rules and commitments and the constraints posed by the loss of policy space” (14)

Para 9 in Addis: We will respect each country’s policy space and leadership to implement policies for poverty eradication and sustainable development, while remaining consistent with relevant international rules and commitments” (9).

Cohesive nationally owned sustainable development strategies, supported by integrated national financing frameworks, will be at the heart of our efforts. We reiterate that each country has primary responsibility for its own economic and social development and that the role of national policies and development strategies cannot be overemphasized. We will respect each country’s policy space and leadership to implement policies for poverty eradication and sustainable development, while remaining consistent with relevant international rules and commitments. At the same time, national development efforts need to be supported by an enabling international economic environment, including coherent and mutually supporting world trade, monetary and financial systems, and strengthened and enhanced global economic governance. Processes to develop and facilitate the availability of appropriate knowledge and technologies globally, as well as capacity-building, are also critical. We commit to pursuing policy coherence and an enabling environment for sustainable development at all levels and by all actors, and to reinvigorating the global partnership for sustainable development.

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