Uganda has called for improved trade among the Least Developed Countries (LDCs), saying it is the only way they will be able to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SGDs) by 2030.
During a general debate on how to achieve Agenda 2030 at the 14th United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD 14) held in Nairobi, Kenya recently, Trade minister Amelia Kyambadde said: “There is need and urgency to improve infrastructural interconnectivity amongst LDCs in order to address the low level of intra trade among these countries.”
The UNCTAD 14 conference was held under the theme: “From decision to action: Moving towards an inclusive and equitable global economic environment for trade and development”.
Ms Kyambadde said the theme challenges all UNCTAD member countries not only to make the right decisions but to implement them for the transformation of all countries, particularly the LDCs such as Uganda.
She said: “It is unfortunate that the total share of global trade for all LDCs is less than 2 per cent when UNCTAD has existed for more than 50 years. This clearly shows that the disparity continues to expand and the rich continue to get richer and the poor poorer.”
She added it will be very hard for LDCs such as Uganda to aspire to deliver the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development when in Africa alone, the total intra-Africa trade is only about 11 per cent of the global trade.
“It is embarrassing that forty four (44) years since the United Nations classified certain countries as LDCs; only four countries have graduated from this category,” Kyambadde noted.
She urged UNCTAD to focus on the needs of LDCs with the aim of strengthening their role in the global economy on the basis of the principles of justice, equity, inclusiveness and differential treatment.
On his part, UNCTAD deputy secretary general Joakim Reiter, said UNCTAD should play a central role in implementing the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development, and that the global community broadly agrees.
Mr Reiter said the integrated approach of UNCTAD, which sees trade as essential to development, is now widely accepted as the critical path for all developing countries to sustainable development.
“With the financing for development outcome at Addis Ababa, in particular paragraph 88, and the Sustainable Development Goals, we see unprecedented unanimity in finding a strong and central role for UNCTAD in implementing the 2030 Agenda,” Mr Reiter said.
LDCs have the potential to help transform themselves into middle income countries within the foreseeable future if they put emphasis on value addition and consolidate multilateral trade through promoting technology transfer and industrialisation.