The WTO and Africa: The State of Play and Key Priorities Going Forward

For African states, pursuing an economic development agenda remains at the centre of their trade strategy at the World Trade Organization (WTO). Many of these developmental objectives are embodied in the Doha Round, which began in 2001. With limited outcomes on the issues raised at the Doha Round, and to reflect the changing trade environment, some WTO member states have begun negotiating through joint statement initiatives. In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic has opened discussions on the potential waiver of intellectual property rights in the face of rising vaccine nationalism. Against this backdrop, African states need to formulate a clear strategy that responds to these global trade shifts. This refocused and renewed negotiating strategy should be adopted in time for the WTO’s Twelfth Ministerial Conference.