The Republic of Equatorial Guinea is one of the nine African countries that will shortly be full members of the World Trade Organisation. This is the backdrop for the Third Regional Dialogue for the strengthening of Economic Integration in Africa, through membership of the World trade Organisation, which is taking place in Addis Abeba from 12th to 14th February.
The forum is taking place in a critical year for the world trade community. The growth in world trade stopped in 2019. Citing trade conflicts as the greatest risk, the general opinion is that some aspects of the WTO should be reformed, in order to increase its effectiveness as a pillar of governance in multilateral trade.
At the symposium, which is being attended by a delegation from the Equatoguinean Government, led by the Vice-Minister for Trade and the Promotion of Small and Medium-sized Companies, Domingo Mba Esono, it was highlighted that the on the African continent the perspectives are positive regarding the future, as African countries are moving further into regional integration through the application of the Continental African Free trade Zone, which began on 1st July 2019.
The nine African countries currently in the process of joining the WTO -Algeria, Comoros, Ethiopia, Equatorial Guinea, Libya, SAPound o Tome and Principe, Somalia and South Sudan- have signed the Continental Free trade Agreement, and three of them have ratified it. It is hoped that many of the African governments that are members of the WTO intensify their commitment at the level of their respective membership working groups in 2020.
Since the creation of the WTO in 1995, 36 governments, including three from the African continent, have successfully used the WTO membership process to design and apply credible frameworks for economic and trade policy, increasing their resistance to external fluctuations through the diversification of their exports, while at the same time promoting greater transparency and good governance in the search for sustainable, fair development for the benefit of all.
It is important to harmonise the internal reforms related to membership with a more extensive national programme of development which includes, among other aspects, economic diversification, the strengthening of institutions and regulatory frameworks, an improvement in human capacities and skills, the attraction of direct foreign investment, and an improvement in the business environment.
Source: Equatorial Guinea Press and Information Office