Local, national and international trade is seen as a factor of development and growth. It is a vehicle for poverty reduction. Trade is ahead of trade ingredients, varied and allows the local, national and even regional and international economy to help communities emerge from the crises and calamities that the world has always faced. The unprecedented health crisis with corona virus, Covid19 has disrupted trade in developed countries, the case of developing countries is no longer to be stressed. The health crisis has had a major impact on the commercial sector, and it has served as a reminder of the need to help the poorest countries better integrate international and regional markets, say World Bank economists Bernard Hoekman and John S. Wilson.
“Trade can play a major role in helping countries cope with the shock of the crisis,” says Hoekman,director of the trade branch of the World Bank’s Vice-President, Poverty Fighting and Economic Management.
“In the current post-crisis environment of fragile economic recovery, aid for trade is becoming more important. As economic activity and demand pick up, consumers and businesses in importing countries are likely to pay even more attention than before to the prices of the goods and services they buy. That is why it is really important to support measures to improve the competitiveness of countries disadvantaged by weak trade capacities.”
Assistance to trade in the least developed countries, where the almost non-existence of roads and quality transport systems slows down the supply mechanism for commercial products and leads to increased costs, delays, export and import difficulties. Given tariff barriers, plus other costs, including those related to corruption, these countries are struggling to compete on the global economic stage, or even at the regional level.
Out of the 49 countries identified as the least developed by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), 31 are landlocked. This is a geographical factor that weighs on the cost of trade and makes countries dependent on logistical conditions outside their borders. IDA, the World Bank’s fund for the poorest countries, provides assistance in the form of interest-free grants and credits. All developing countries are affected by the health crisis and this for a long time for an initial recovery. Of the thirty-one landlocked countries, Africa alone comes out with more or less half. This will not favour the black continent and further the countries of the Hinterland to be competitive in the continental market and beyond the continent.
Trade, the basis for national and even international development
The commercial sector in the economy is not to be relegated to second place in view of its contribution to the lives of small producers who at the base supply goods directly consumable or not to communities, from the bottom of the scale to the top. Endogenous or exogenous development cannot be talked about without the commercial sector. This fragile sector needs support because of its contribution to national and even international trade. Therefore, trade aid, as well as the better integration of developing countries into world trade, are at the heart of the Sustainable Development Goal. Of the seventeen (17) SDGs, the African Union’s Agenda 2063 and even Togo’s PND, the partnership between the countries of the south and those of the north will only be truly achievable and united by the commercial sector. “Trade has always been a fundamental driver of global economic development, GDP growth and information transfer,” says He says. Wilson, Senior Economist for Trade and International Integration in the World Bank’s Development Research Group.
“Trade helps to bind – in a good way – the various actors of the international community. If trade is not given the means to exploit its potential, it will be more difficult to achieve the SDGs on health, nutrition, education and the South/South and North/South partnership, among others. Investments made by the donor community in these areas would be much less effective and much less returned in the absence of an open and dynamic international trading system. »
The products marketed and marketable from the countries of the South are numerous from their origins, but we can retain the main ones which are among others agricultural products, mineral resources, fish products and animal proteins… The northern countries, on the other hand, market manufactured goods and household appliances added to many others. Access to the developing countries’ market has improved over the past decade: 79% of the products they export to developed economies now enjoy duty-free access, up from 55% in 1997. The pandemic will be a great force to rotate the above data.
Aid for trade includes financing logistics and transport infrastructure, assisting companies to comply with international production standards, strengthening border management skills and setting up projects to link rural producers to markets.
“More than 90% of all aid-for-trade commitments, however, are geared towards infrastructure and trade development,” says he. Wilson “We need to be careful that commitments are met and used for concrete projects on the ground – and also address the relatively small share of funding for political and regulatory reforms.”
Landlocked countries: a challenge for trade growth
Landlocked countries are spread around the world: 15 of them are in Africa, 12 in Asia, 2 in Latin America and 2 in Central and Eastern Europe. Taken as a whole, they are among the most disadvantaged countries in the world. They face many challenges in terms of growth and development, due to various factors:
- poor quality of physical infrastructure
- weak institutional and productive capacities
- remoteness from global markets
- significant vulnerability to external shocks.
- Inaccessibility to the sea of landlocked countries,
- The growing insecurity in the Sahel countries, the coastal countries are indirectly affected.
- The advance of the desert,
- The unfavourable climate for certain crops,
- Bad governance.
- The advance of the sea,
Of these landlocked countries, some, not concerned, are vegetating in a situation comparable to those of landlocked countries: Togo
How Togo is in trade in the West African sub-region: agricultural and mining products.
The Togolese territory of 56,600km2 is 25% cultivated, from the small field of millet, sorghum and millets north of Blitta, to the clay lands of southern Togo, which produce tubers and cereals including maize and others. It is probably a significant fact to achieve a food self-sufficiency that is almost complete for the country.
Agriculture provides much of the food security for Togolese, the rural sector still supports about 80% of the population.
The crops are very diverse: millet, sorghum, corn, cassava, yams, cocoa, coffee, manioc shea… Cotton is the main industrial crop and the main agricultural export product. We also notice that it is the small and medium-sized farms that dominate.
In addition, high densities in Togo have led to an increased need for combustible wood, which is the cause of one of the highest rates of deforestation in Africa.
In March 2006, there was an industrialization ofagriculture by the Togolese government, which (again) began the motorization of agriculture, until then practiced by farmers by means of manual force with traditional tools such as hoe and daba. Mining resources are in a state of exploitation and recovery.
The country has offshore oil and also marble, attapulgites, manganese, limestone, iron, peat,gold,uranium,but above all a very important phosphate deposit that accounts for more than 40% of export earnings.
Togo is the world’s fifth largest producer of phosphates and the second largest producer.
The extraction is carried out in the open pits of the Hahoté and Akoumapé mines. The processing plant is located in Kpémé, near a major boarding dock (1,200 meters long) and has a production capacity of 3.4 million tonnes per year.
Phosphate production declined between 2007 and
, due to lack of substantial investment and due to faulty management. In response, the Togolese government created the New Phosphate Society of Togo (SNPT), whose ambition is to increase production to 2 million 500,000 tonnes per year.
For the energy and other sectors, the country faces enormous challenges facing government and international and non-governmental organizations.