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01/18/2011

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Frede Hansen

It is important to help the poorest of the poorest, but a real change can only develop, if industrialism comes to Africa. "Good" people often try to help by buying some handicraft from women - og we ship our old clothes to Africa - and the African tayler is loosing his job, becaus he cannot compete with free shirts from Europe.
Foreningen afro-art.dk is buying art from 5 countries in Africa. Trade is better than aid to fight against poverty in Africa. We only buy quality which it is possible to sell in Denmark.

Project Advice & Training Centre

Hi Frede,

Thanks for your comment.

I believe that trade and civil society oriented development have to work hand in hand to fight poverty in Africa and elsewhere. They have different focuses and both are needed to fight poverty in a way that reaches the people and is poverty oriented. Trade left alone and not controlled cannot do it by itself.

You are correct in pointing out that we of course are also contributing to holding people in poverty. In my opinion there are two major obstacles here:
- Import – export barriers and controls which are set up to protect our own markets while keeping products from other continents out of Europe and the west.
- Large companies trying their best to avoid paying tax in the countries where they are working while doing their best to pull out as many resources as possible.
In order to achieve and support change we may have to work with three broad themes:

- The overall trade framework which prevents the South from selling their products. We need to address this through advocacy efforts in the west.
- The development of sane and balanced profitable economic trade in Africa and elsewhere.
- And the establishment of strong independent civil society organizations that can help balance the development of a framework for economic development.
Does anyone agree that these themes are important? And does anyone have experience in dealing with them?

Nicolai Houe

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