The Geneva Trade and Development Forum (GTDF) has ended with a call on developing countries to strengthen regional trade opportunities and solutions to facilitate regional and national integration processes to boost international trade and development.
The conference also recommended that developing countries foster a culture of intra-regional entrepreneurship and industrial development.
It called for paradigm shift in how trade negotiations with developing countries are approached by developed countries by prioritizing developmental needs.
The Conference emphasized the role of timely market intelligence, better access to markets and more transparency to better harness trade as a development tool.
Ideas Centre, a Geneva-based non-profit organization dedicated to helping low-income countries to integrate into the global trading system in a bid that would support their national poverty reduction and economic development efforts, organized the Forum.
Mr Youssouf Ouedraogo, Special Advisor to the President, Agricultural Development Bank (AfDB) and Chairman of the Conference, said trade liberalization was not an end but a means for development, demanding value addition, improved information flow, capacity building, transfer of technology and improved decision-making to make trade inclusive.
He said Africa and developing countries needed to reposition themselves taking advantage of the new horizon, improve public finance and taxation, environmental sustenance and generate competitive markets with the north and respecting Africa's political and economic sovereignty.
Mr Grant Aldonas, former US Under-Secretary for International Trade, urged trade and development practitioners to prosecute policies that foster increased incomes noting that "rising incomes, not lowering trade barriers and increased trade".
He emphasized the need to reinforce the supply side of international trade with increased capacity for policy formulation in developing countries.
The forum brought together more than 250 stakeholders from over 45 developing countries and Overseas Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).