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Economic recovery: UNCTAD urges policy rethink

By Olisemeka Obeche

The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) has appealed to world economic policy implementers and experts to adopt pragmatic strategies towards fast-tracking the healing of the global economy.

Secretary-General Mukhisa Kituyi made this appeal while addressing participants attending the 2013 World Bank/IMF Annual Meetings in Washington D.C. on Friday. According to him, global economic leaders must think outside the box to be able to forestall further slide of the global economy.

“Putting in place the measures that are required to achieve this change in growth trajectory will need a policy rethink in several areas. It will require a move away from seeing labour as only a cost of production that needs to be kept low in order to compete on global markets towards seeing it as a key source of consumer demand”, he pleaded.

He has a deep understanding of the dynamics of the global economy. In order to avoid an import surge and subsequent payments crisis, he explains, it will be essential to strengthen domestic investment and innovation to ensure a convergence in domestic production and consumption patterns. This, in turn, means re-directing the financial sector, to ensure that enterprises can access the credit they need, at the right price, to transform their productive processes into ones that can meet the needs of local and regional consumers.

The UNCTAD scribe further cautions that addressing the prospect of a prolonged period of considerably slower export growth requires that policymakers in developing countries give priority to domestic demand as an engine of growth. “Such a move towards a more balanced growth path could compensate for the adverse impact of slower growing exports to developed countries”, he said.

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