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Cotton in West Africa

The Economic and Social Stakes

image of Cotton in West Africa

In West Africa, approximately 16 million people depend directly or indirectly on cotton cultivation. But subsidies in the developed world have suppressed cotton prices and have made it difficult for West African producers to compete.  Compounding the problem, WTO negotiations on the problem have been suspended.  This publication contends that the dialogue between developed and developing countries on this topic must continue. It sets out the regional stakes linked to the economic and social importance of cotton in West Africa. It retraces the consultation process on the West African cotton crisis with the aim of finding a negotiated solution acceptable to all parties. Also discussed are the challenges and the measures that need to be taken over the medium and long term in order to prevent this sub-sector’s sudden collapse.

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Executive Summary

Sahel and West Africa Club

Cotton has played an important part in the economic development of many West African countries, and remains a key source of livelihood for many. Cotton has been grown in West Africa for over a century and a significant traditional textile industry has existed in the region for more than 50 years.

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