Emerging issues pertinent to African agriculture under WTO negotiations
Author(s)/Corporate Author (s)United Nations. Economic Commission for Africa. Regional Cooperation and Integration Division;
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The importance of agriculture to African development and trade cannot be over emphasized. On the average, this sector contributes 35% of GDP, 40% of export earnings and provides about 70% of jobs. In Africa, agriculture is the dominant source and basis for income, food supply, food security and the supply of raw material inputs for agro-industries. Unfortunately, the performance of the agricultural sector in sub-Saharan Africa has declined in the past 30 years. Africa's share of the market in its major agricultural products such as cocoa, coffee and groundnuts has fallen while its imports of other agricultural products such as cereals have increased over the reference period. The share of agriculture in total GDP has decreased even in many developing economies while this indicator has increased in most countries of sub-Saharan Africa, suggesting the absence of economic transformation. The objective of this study is to identify areas of the WTO Agreements and their implementation that on actual operations have shown to affect African interests negatively in the trading of agricultural products. Based on observed situations and conclusions on selected topics, the paper will then recommend strategies that African countries could employ in their future WTO negotiations so as to improve their agricultural trade positions in the multilateral trading system now in operation.