The World Trade Organisation (WTO) defines rules on the international trade in goods and services, and these rules have consequences for national policies. An arena for decision that claims to be democratic, the WTO is an arena where countries with different socioeconomic and political weights and diverging interests confront each other. African countries have always struggled to participate fully in this organisation because they are unable to influence its decisions, running the risk of not having their concerns heard and having inadequate multilateral rules on public policy elaboration imposed upon them.
They have many obstacles before them: in addition to their underrepresentation at WTO headquarters because of insufficient economic and human resources, there is the multitude of WTO bodies, and the complexity of WTO rules and procedures. The choices made at
the WTO are of major importance for development, in particular in the field of agriculture, an essential socioeconomic sector in Africa.
The purpose of this book is to provide guidance in understanding how the WTO institutions and agreements that impact the agricultural sector operate. Its aim is to provide those in charge of civil society organisations in sub-Saharan Africa with tools and references to better understand the stakes behind, and means for, their participation in world trade. Organised around descriptive and factual texts, this work contains many definitions and is illustrated by concrete experiences that facilitate reading.