Sunday, September 20, 2020

Botswana remains vulnerable to food price hikes

Botswana is heavily affected by the high food prices, a global concern for food importing countries, said Trade and Industry minister, Dorcus Makgato-Malesu.

Speaking at UN Conference on Trade and Development in Doha, Qatar, the minister said the international community should address the problem in order to eliminate hunger and starvation. She said Africa in particular is suffering from high instability of food prices.

Malesu has urged the United Nations on Trade and Development to advise the developing countries on policy and best practices that can help bolster agricultural production both for self sufficiency and export capacity. Malesu said globalization has brought new opportunities for developing countries but market access opportunities brought about are not sufficient on their own.

Great access to developed countries’ markets and technology transfer holds possibilities for improved production and high standards of living. However, globalization has also presented Botswana with greater challenges like growing inequalities within and between nations, volatility in financial and commodity markets.

Malesu has told the international community during the Thirteenth Session of The United Nations on Trade and Development (UNCTAD XIII) that Botswana has not benefited due to growing inequalities within and between nations, as well as volatility in financial and commodity markets.

She said Botswana still lacks capacity to take advantage of available opportunities.

She urged the developed countries to assist with “Aid for Trade” as it is necessary for developing counties to integrate into the global economy. Through technical assistance and capacity building programmes offered by UNCTAD, coupled with holistic and integrated policy research and analysis, it is fair to say developing countries have made some progress, said Malesu.

She, however, said the imbalances in the multilateral Trading System continue to undermine the gains from developed countries. In this connection, the Doha Development Round needs to progress towards a conclusion, with a focus on corrective actions aimed at bringing about a significant rebalancing of the global trading system as well as addressing capacity constrains and adjustment cost that prevent developing countries from taking advantage of the market access opportunities.

 Malesu also noted that the impact of climate change has far-reaching implications on the economic and social development for developing countries.

She said that the impact is particularly adverse on most African countries that rely heavily on climate-sensitive sectors such as agriculture, natural resources and tourism.

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Sunday Standard September 20 – 26

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