OIF urged to back African cotton producers

Antananarivo- Madagascar (PANA) -- Burkina Faso's foreign minister Youssouf Ouedraogo has called on the International Organisation of the Francophonie (OIF) to back African cotton producing countries during the 14-17 December World Trade Organisation (WTO) talks in Hong Kong.
Addressing the opening session Tuesday of the Francophonie Ministerial Conference (CMF), which he chairs, Ouedraogo said the support of the OIF to African cotton growers would prove "the efficiency and unity of its action".
"In a few days in Hong Kong, crucial negotiations will begin for the survival of the multilateral trade system hailing from the Marrakech Treaty creating WTO.
For us, it is an essential meeting," he said, recalling the importance of cotton for the economies of Benin, Burkina Faso, Mali and Chad.
"These negotiations are essential to our countries engaged for many years in a unequalled fight against poverty.
Winning this fight means showing the world that fatality is no Francophone response, it is not a response to the numerous cries of anguish heard everywhere, often with violence," Ouedraogo insisted.
He stressed that the support to African cotton producers was intended only to create conditions conducive to a "fairer" trade more capable of catering for the well-being of the Beninese, Chadian, Burkinabe and Malian peoples.
"I know that together, we could bring down the walls of national egoism and foster the emergence in our community of the stones that will be used to build a fairer world, a more open world, a more solidarity-prone world," Ouedraogo stressed.
"The Francophonie has provided enough irrefutable evidence of its cohesion, lucid vision and efficiency.
The most recent one was shown all along the process of developing, negotiating and adopting the Convention on Cultural Diversity at UNESCO," he recalled.
Though markedly better in quality than those of other world regions, African cotton fails to fetch a fair price on the international market, while agricultural subsidies to Western farmers distort world market prices, causing huge deficits to the cotton sectors in African countries.
The issue is on the agenda of the Hong Kong trade negotiations expected to attract some 140 WTO member states.

23 november 2005 16:49:00




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