Parliament, Monday 4 November 2019 – Parliaments should participate in building and monitoring infrastructure that will help promote inclusive, sustainable industrialisation.

National Assembly Speaker Ms Modise made this call in her keynote address this morning during the first session of the G20 Parliamentary Speakers’ Summit in Tokyo, Japan.

The Inter-Parliamentary Union (the largest and oldest global parliamentary platform) and the House of Councillors of the National Diet (Parliament) of Japan are hosting the summit, which aims to strengthen parliamentary oversight of G20 Leaders’ Summits.

“If we are to reflect on the promotion of free, open and fair trade and investment (the session’s theme) we must assess the impact of multilateral trade systems and their impact on achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, especially Goal 8,” Ms Modise said. Goal 8 calls for full and productive employment and decent work for all women and men by 2030.

“It is important that, as parliaments, we participate in building and monitoring infrastructure that will help promote inclusive and sustainable industrialisation,” Ms Modise said.

She observed that frameworks and systems which the World Trade Organisation established in the 1990s had not helped much and perhaps needed a rethink.

“How far we can go as parliaments in finding, co-creating and deriving solutions to improve and modernise the current multilateral trade systems?

“We cannot reverse globalisation but we can guide its pace and form. We must at least try to ensure that the multilateral systems are functional.”

Ms Modise added: “Recent trade tensions and disputes have been worrying. If we do not take care, big economies will end up acting unilaterally.

“The growth of digitization of economic activities has also forced us to reconsider how the current system can be reformed. We must take advantage of technology to improve global trade to benefit all.”

The African Continental Free Trade Area, aimed at establishing a continental customs union and boosting intra-Africa trade, would slowly dismantle colonial borders and allow freer movement and remove the red-tape associated with doing business. This could particularly benefit African women, who account for about 70% of informal cross-border trade, Ms Modise said.

The G20 Speakers’ Summit is expected to adopt a joint statement, reflecting on agreements of the 2019 G20 Leaders’ Summit. The G20 comprises 19 countries – Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, the Republic of Korea, South Africa, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United States of America – and the European Union.

Ms Modise also took the opportunity to thank Japan for hosting one of the most successful world cups in the tournament’s history, which saw stadium capacity filled to 99.3% and a total of 1.84 million tickets sold. South Africa, for the third time, conquered all to ascend to the throne as kings of world rugby.

To download a soundbite of Speaker Modise’s remarks please follow this link:

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