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Zimbabwe attends WTO ministerial conference in UAE

Story by Wellington Makonese

ZIMBABWE has endorsed the Landlocked Least Developing Countries (LLDCs) grouping’s Declaration to the World Trade Organization’s 13th Ministerial Conference, a grouping that protects and promotes the interests of landlocked nations on international trade.

LLDCs of the world engaged this Sunday on the eve of the
World Trade Organization’s 13th Ministerial Conference in Abu Dhabi.

Zimbabwe’s delegation to the conference is headed by Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister, Ambassador Frederick Shava.

“It is important to recall that there are 32 landlocked developing countries in the world, including 17 Least Developed Countries, which over the last decade have experienced stagnated and a marginal decrease in the share of world exports, from 1.2% in 2013 to 1.1% in 2023. This is a point of concern given that LLDCs are a sizeable constituency of 7% of the world’s population facing unique geographical impediments to meaningfully participate in global trade.

“In spite of the many trade facilitation reforms Zimbabwe is pursuing and recently implemented, we continue to share challenges faced by developing countries occasioned by multiple crises, which include inflation, energy and food prices, and financing, as well as disruptions in supply chains and elevated trade costs -which all acutely affect LLDCs,” he said.

“It is therefore pertinent to have focused discussions within the Committee on Trade and Development, assessing trade-related challenges with the objective for the WTO to adopt measures that assist LLDCs to integrate and participate more meaningfully in the world trading system. Zimbabwe therefore endorses the LLDC Ministerial Declaration and supports its submission to MC13. We are ready to work with all WTO LLDC members to achieve a successful outcome,” said Ambassador Shava.

Botswana’s Minister of Trade and Industry, Honourable Mmusi Kgafela said outcomes of the meeting will directly influence the grouping’s priorities, strategies and collective aspirations.

“Underscoring the importance of our discussions today, outcomes of this meeting will directly influence our priorities, strategies and collective aspirations at the conference. As such, it is incumbent upon us to leverage this opportunity to set the stage for constructive dialogue, collaboration and action that will propel LLDCs towards sustainable development and prosperity.”

The Group of LLDCs is currently chaired by Botswana and actively promotes and protects their interests in implementing the Vienna Programme of Action, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and other relevant development agendas.

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