Khartoum workshop looks at how to relaunch Sudan’s WTO accession bid
Public and private sector participants learn about the benefits WTO membership would bring to Sudan’s businesses.
A recent workshop held in Sudan’s capital, Khartoum, put focus on the country’s effort to join the World Trade Organization (WTO), with a particular focus on how a membership of the trade body will affect the telecommunications and services sectors.
Opening the workshop, State Minister Ahmed Fadul Abdalla emphasized the importance of Sudan’s WTO accession, as this would help open up market and trade opportunities, and put the country on a path to sustainable development. He said that the losses from not acceding to the WTO would be significant.
The Minister’s view was echoed by the Union of Sudanese Businessmen, who confirmed the private sector view that there is a growing awareness that ‘accession is a must’. Previously WTO accession had been seen as a considerable challenge to national industry, though better understanding of the business implications and market opportunities has helped change this perception.
Despite the relatively slow progress of Sudan’s WTO accession negotiations in recent years, private-sector participants at the workshop contribute actively, stating their willingness to learn more about the consequences of WTO membership and related potential policy changes. The perspectives from Least Developed Countries (LDCs) were of particular interest to the audience and the workshop put focus on strategies deployed by of similarly placed LDCs in their accession process, as well as in the context of financial services and telecommunication.
The workshop confirmed the importance of continued technical assistance with a common understanding that if Sudan is to become a member of the WTO, the country needs to step up its efforts. Closing the two-day event, Hiba Mohamed, Head of the Executive Office National Secretariat for WTO Affairs, said in her closing remark that the workshop had given a needed boost in order to ‘relaunch Sudan’s WTO accession process’.
The workshop, which was held on 19-20 November and was organized by the International Trade Centre’s (ITC) Business and Trade Policy section in collaboration with the WTO and attracted more than 60 participants from civil society, media, government and the private sector.