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Aid, not trade

In the short term, opening up agricultural markets will not help African countries

By Jack Thurston   July 2005

When world leaders meet in Gleneagles in July to discuss healing Africa, much will be made of the need for Africa to be better equipped to help itself. Meanwhile, the development round of WTO negotiations is nearing its endgame, with the Hong Kong conference due in December. As up to 80 per cent of Africans rely on farming for their livelihoods, reducing agricultural trade barriers ought to help. But will it?

Calculations by World Bank economist Kym Anderson show that under various possible scenarios in the WTO’s current Doha development round, sub-Saharan African countries stand to gain only very slightly…

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