and IMANI question the relevance of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development”-April 16, 2008

IMANI & Cordially Invites You to a Half-Day Conference on the Relevance of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) to Africa’s Development Prospects.
Hon. Mr. K.B Asante, Secretary to Ghana’s First President, Osagyefo Kwame Nkrumah, and President of the UNCTAD Board in 1968 and 1969
Bernard Avle, host of BBC Africa’s Best Community Outreach Programme,
Mr. Frank Agyei-Twum, Editor of The Statesman 
Mr. Konrad Kodjo Djaisi, Senior Journalist with The Business and Financial Times
Mr. Franklin Cudjoe, Executive   Director, IMANI
Date: Wednesday, April 16, 2008 Venue: Bostsio Auditorium, Alisa Hotel, North Ridge Time: 9:30am-2pm, with Lunch to follow.
Ghana will later this month host the 22nd United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.  The Conference is billed to examine the challenges and opportunities facing developing countries in an increasingly globalised world.
UNCTAD’s Secretariat would like discussions for the Accra meeting to be centred on five key areas: investment, Overseas Development Assistance (ODA), trade, commodities and migration.
For us at IMANI, Africa’s interests should be the paramount issue for all African attendants and audiences. The continent’s economy recorded a growth rate of 5.7 per cent in 2006, and though an increase to 5.8 per cent was recorded in 2007 and a 6 per cent expansion projected for 2008, these rates are still lower than the 7–8 per cent rate required in order to meet the development target of halving absolute poverty by 2015.
The continent’s inward FDI flows has certainly increased in recent years, reaching a peak of about $40 billion in 2006. Our share of global flows however remains marginal.  What would be UNCTAD’s strategy to open up Africa for the mobilization of greater volumes of foreign and domestic resource to spur development? What should UNCTAD’s strategy be?
In spite of the fact that many African countries have received debt relief, their debt-servicing burden has not become lighter due to misapplication of funds and increased interest rates on new debts. How can Africa ensure ownership of its development and create its own policy space if the continent’s ability to do so is indexed on donor charity?  Given the debilitating effects of aid, should the African Group within UNCTAD depend on loans and aid at all?
Against the back drop of failed attempts to revive the Doha Round of trade negotiations, what hope remains for trade-based organisations like UNCTAD? How would trade deals such as WTO’s Aid for Trade and the Economic Partnership Agreements promote the interest of UNCTAD members?
How would UNCTAD strengthen South-South cooperation when trade barriers erected within regional trade blocs are far heftier than those applied by developed countries to developing world produce?
To what extent will decisions reached at the end of the conference be taken seriously by member countries and most crucially, the developed countries?  "Have we a future relying so much on international and multilateral organizations and friendly governments?"
Please note that attendance at this conference is strictly by invitation. Please confirm your participation by emailing Nathaniel at or Alidou at or call 021-41 70 94 or 0289510383.