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Rethinking Global Trade and Financial Architecture

Rethinking Global Trade and Financial Architecture


Abstract: Developing countries can be said to be at disadvantage in the contemporary global trade and financial architecture. Therefore, this paper offers a discussion on rethinking this architecture so as to enable these countries benefit fully from the world trading and financial systems. It is argued that the current world trading system that emphasizes openness to trade is based on the primary concern of developed countries regardless of differences in the level of development and capacity of the low-income countries. Also, the international financial system’s recommendations and stringent “conditionality” are accompanied by huge costs. However, the current global financial crisis now offers some developing countries a rare window of opportunity to reconstruct these economic institutions in ways which more closely reflect their own interests. This paper identifies and discusses likely areas of reconstruction that developing countries can use to address market distortions, relieve supply-side constraints and pursue social and equity objectives. Others include rethinking the practice of investing their reserves in developed countries’ assets, the use of a national currency as the de facto international unit of payments and the need for structural changes in the international financial institutions with a view to giving developing countries larger say in their management. In order to seize this opportunity, developing countries will need to develop their capacity for the analysis, articulation and negotiation of their interests.

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