The World Trade Organisation and Developing Countries: The Case of Zimbabwe
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This study gives a critical analysis of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and developing countries in general and Zimbabwe in particular. This study makes an assessment of the achievements and obstacles in regulating international trade in relation to developing countries with specific reference to Zimbabwe. The study gives background information on the formation of the WTO. The structures of the WTO, its objectives and activities are analysed using a political economy approach. The effects of globalization policies embodied in the WTO were discussed. This study questions whether the WTO presents any significant trade and development opportunities to developing countries and Zimbabwe in particular. Discussions in this study were formulated on the hypotheses, which assumed that the WTO does not change the status-quo of the world economic order and is still exclusive rather than inclusive. In addition to a discussion on the evolution of Zimbabwe’s participation in the WTO, the Agreement on Agriculture and the Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights were analysed as they apply to the case of Zimbabwe. This study concludes that Zimbabwe, like other developing countries, is marginalised by the WTO. Since the WTO failed to deliver on its key promises nine years after its establishment, it is important that all the weaknesses of the existing regime be unearthed and corrected. The WTO’s agreements need to be reviewed and redressed in order to allow benefits from such a regime to be enjoyed by developing countries too, otherwise, developing countries cannot support further trade liberalisation, new agendas and issues. The reviewing process should include genuine consultations with civil society, the business community and other stakeholders such as national governments.