Trade critical in reducing poverty – Finnish envoy

FINNISH Ambassador to Zambia Sinikka Antila says trade is a critical medium for poverty reduction in the country.

Ambassador Antila said trade plays an important role in improving integration of developing countries into international trade systems.

“The aid for trade initiative launched at the World Trade organization ministerial meeting in Hong Kong in 2005 aims at strengthening the capacity of developing countries to participate in, and benefit from international trade,” Antila said during the launch of the Better Exploration of Trade as a Means of Poverty Reduction (BETAMPOR).

BETAMPOR will be implemented by Consumer Unity and Trust Society (CUTS).

Ambassador Antila also said Finland would commit 104,000 euros in 2011 to CUTS to help it continue and expand the BETAMPOR programme.

“It is hoped that with a total of 104,000 euros, CUTS will be able to significantly build capacity of state and non-state actors, particularly marginalized groups in rural provinces not only to participate in but also to benefit from the EIF process,” Ambassador Antila said.

“It is crucial to focus on these marginalized groups including small-scale farmers, female headed households and informal traders who are so often left outside of national discussions yet whose work truly shapes trade in Zambia,” she said it was also important to remember that women dominate cross-border trading and were often heads of their households whose needs and priorities needed to be listened to.

“Given an informed opportunity non-state actors at the grassroots level can effectively influence national policy dialogue and debate on the EIF,” said Ambassador Antila.

And CUTS International – Zambia executive chairman Ambassador Love Mtesa said a structure for policy effectiveness for inclusive growth would be built locally through the involvement of local stakeholders under the BETAMPOR programme.

“We expect an enhanced capacity on how to formulate proposals from the identified groups in accessing funds under the EIF and other Aid for Trade related programmes,” said Ambassador Mtesa.