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Indebted African Countries Unlikely To Meet MDGS


Many Indebted African Countries Unlikely To Meet MDGS: UNCTAD

Despite progress in the World Bank's Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative, many African countries are unlikely to manage their debt situations or achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) aimed at fighting a host of socio-economic ills, according to a report discussed at a United Nations conference today.

The assessment came during the 37th executive session of the Trade and Development Board in Geneva of the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), which seeks to integrate developing countries into the world economy.

The report also recommended a debt write-off for the poorest countries or the application of an alternative set of debt sustainability criteria, including human development indicators, UNCTAD said.

In the report’s second section, which deals with advisory services and capacity building, UINCTAD said that the Joint Integrated Technical Assistance Programme (JITSP), launched in February 2003 for 16 African countries, continued in partnership with the International Trade Centre (ITC) and World Trade Organization (WTO). This programme is focused on enhancing the capacities of national task forces established to deal with the multilateral trading system in the beneficiary countries.

Other trade-related technical assistance activities include: support on trade negotiations; assistance to countries in the process of accession to the WTO; support for African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) States in their negotiations with the EU on economic partnership agreements (EPAs); assistance in trade in services and trade preferences; and capacity-building and support in connection with South-South trade and regional and global trade agreements.

Activities have also been implemented in the areas of the links between trade, the environment and development; competition and consumer protection policies; commodities; and services development.

Other areas of activity include: debt management; international investment (including investment policy reviews); enterprise development; and trade facilitation, including customs and multimodal transport.

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