Concerns remain following a recently concluded two-day conclave on July 11-12 in Washington DC, in which delegates deliberated on mutually beneficial trade and investment opportunities under the banner of the 17th African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa) forum. The forum, which brought together representatives from the US and eligible African countries to forge new strategies for deepening US-Africa trade and investment, occurred at a time when the international trade order is at a crossroads. There are doubts about the effectiveness of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in ensuring that multinational trade flows as smoothly, predictably and freely as possible, with advanced and developing economies alike increasingly pursuing enhanced inward-looking protectionist trade policies. This is belligerent, with disregard for basic international trade principles (including the benefits of comparative costs advantage), and could negatively affect economic productivity in underdeveloped cou...

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