the Capacity to Benefit From Trade
from an address by United States Trade Representative Robert B.
February 14, 2002
Mandela a truly heroic figure of the 20th Century
has pointed out that as African leaders were waging their battles
against colonialism, they were distracted from another enemy that
could be equally oppressive: poverty.
of Africas challenges in the 21st Century, said Mandela,
will be "for the continent to focus energies and resources on
shaping its own development." This struggle, he has said, is being
led by "a new generation of African leaders, capable men and women
who are not prepared to accept as inevitable the current condition
under which the ordinary African lives."
1990, the International Monetary Fund classified 75 percent of
African countries as operating "restrictive" trade regimes; none
were classified as "open." Today, the IMF deems only 14 percent
of Africas trade regimes "restrictive," and 43 percent are
few years ago, President Mbeki urged his fellow African leaders
to "insert ourselves into the international debate about the issues
of globalization and its impact on the lives of the people and
make our voice heard." As the largest single regional grouping
within the WTO, African nations can utilize it to accelerate their
integration with the global economy, while easing the occasional
stresses of doing so.
governments took this approach at the WTO Ministerial meeting
in Doha this past November, playing a key role in its success.
[The meeting] also stressed the critical need to provide African
nations with the tools and training to help them participate more
fully in the global trading system and reap the full benefits
of trade liberalization.
is a top priority for the United States. Over the past three years,
the United States has deployed $192 million toward trade-related
capacity-building assistance for sub-Saharan African countries.
This money is being devoted to a host of projects, including the
training of trade negotiators and assisting African governments
in the drafting and implementation of economic and regulatory
there is much more to be done by countries and the international
financial institutions. A new generation of leaders has new ideas
for the new Africa. Nelson Mandela reflects my hopes when he said
that, "Africas position in the world today will depend on
what Africa does. . . . In the end, that is why we do remain confident
in our determination that we are at the dawn of the African century."