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Buhari seeks duty-free market access for least deveped countries

President Muhammadu Buhari has called on Developed and Developing nations to grant duty-free and quota-free market access for products originating from the world’s 46 least-developed countries.

The President, who said it would ensure their integration in regional and global value chains, also criticised the current structure of the global financial system, which places “an unsustainable” external debt burden on the most vulnerable countries.

Speaking in Doha, the Qatari capital, at the UN Conference of Least Developed Countries, the President warned that such debt burdens would make it “extremely difficult” for LDCs (least-developed countries) to meet the 2030 Agenda for Seventeen Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“In 2015, the world came together to endorse the 2030 Agenda for 17 Sustainable Development Goals,” the President recounted.

“There was no doubt that it was highly ambitious and would require leaders around the world to be fully committed for the SDGs to be achieved within the projected timeframe,” he said.

“Eight years on, the possibility of achieving the SDGs remains bleak for many countries, particularly, the Least Developed Countries. The difficulties in achieving the SDGs are numerous and were further compounded by the Covid-19 pandemic, the continued threat of Climate Change, and recently the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

The President challenged developed countries, civil society actors, the private sector, and the business community to partner with the LDCs in order to provide necessary resources and capacity to deliver development outcomes in the economic, social, and environmental aspects of the 2030 Agenda

He listed some measures that will help LDCs recover from Covid-19, achieve SDGs, develop, and prosper over the long term.

Expounding on the issue of rising debt burden, President Buhari underscored the need for reforms of the international financial architecture that would prioritise the need of Least Developed Countries.

He aligned with the United Nations Secretary-General’s description on the global financial system as an unfair debt architecture that, not only had been charging poor countries much more money to borrow on the market than advanced economies, but had downgraded them when they even think of restructuring their debt or applying for debt relief.


On trade issues, President Buhari said it was important to put in place modalities to facilitate transit co-operation, transfer of technologies, and access to global e-commerce platforms, as they were critical for the integration of LDCs into the regional and global value chains and communications technology services.

On Nigeria’s expectation for the conference, the President expressed optimism that the Doha Programme of Action would lead to the acceleration of exports from LDCs by 2031, through the facilitation of their access to foreign markets in line with World Trade Organization Facilitation Agreement.

On climate change, President Buhari said that LDCs continue to suffer disproportionately despite contributing least to its causes.

He added that countries must prioritise cutting global emissions and work with determination to hold warming to 1.5 degrees, thereby securing the children’s future.

Reporting by Abdullah Bello; Editing by Abdullahi Lamino, Julian Osamoto and Tony Okerafor