Consortium to deepen efforts to address trade, economic inequalities in Africa

A consortium of four is strategising in Ghana on ways to address the inequalities in the cocoa, mining and salt sectors to provide decent income for the poor in the value chain.

Oxfam, Third World Network-Africa (TWN-Africa), SOMO, and the Huairou Commission, are holding a four-day “fair for all” conference to increase civil society efforts in that regard.

Among others, they would work with the private sector to find alternative business models, increase pressure on actors for a responsible financial system, improve governmental regulation, and advocate for fiscal and trade reforms.

Countries participating in the conference include Ghana, Nigeria, Uganda, South Africa, Kenya, Mozambique, with support from Brazil, Italy, Palestine, and the Netherlands.

Speaking with the Ghana News Agency on Tuesday, February 13, Mr Francis Agbere, Just Economy Lead, Oxfam Ghana, said the priority of the consortium was to deconstruct existing value chain systems that did not work in favour of the poor.

“The strategy is to ensure that the value chains of cocoa, mining, and salt are organised in a way that people who everyday sees the reality and impact of these resources benefit and dealing with the injustices and inequalities that take from the poor and give to the rich,” he said.

“We will look within and outside, adopt strategies to ensure that the poor person in a community get a fair price for the commodity that they depend on for their livelihood and point to tangible benefits from the extraction made,” he stated.

Mr Agbere explained that a multifaceted approach would be used to provide the space for host communities of resources to share their specific needs, while engaging corporate entities to have fair prices for farmers to earn decent income.

“We’ll also work to provide the policy space that would crack the whip on multinational entities that operate within these value chains and respond to the UN guiding principles for businesses on respect for human rights,” he noted.

Mr Sylvester Bagooro, Programme Officer, Third World Network-Africa, explained that while Africa had enormous resources, it had not seen the needed transformation over the years, and the dividend thereof for the poor.

“This project has been conceived to empower citizens and organisations alike, so that we can see how much value our Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) can also capture from the resources that are often exported by transnational corporations,” said, Mr Bagooro.

He stated that the project would be keen on value addition, and addressing the systemic challenges associated with rules, which were detrimental to the progress of SMEs and the poor in various resource-rich communities.

“It is through value addition that we can have the kind of employment, skills, and technology you’re looking for, and that’s how we build a transformational economy,” he said.

The fair for all initiative is part of the global Power of Voices with a budget amounting to 71 million euros and to be implemented between January 2021 and December 2025.

Source: GNA

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