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A welcome reception for beer: WTO Global Review of Aid for Trade

On 09/07/13 by Andy Tighe (Policy Director)

I had the honour of saying a few welcoming remarks at a beer reception at the end of the first day of “Connecting to Value Chains” the World Trade Organisation Global Review of its Aid for Trade programme in Geneva.

Aid for Trade is focused on helping developing countries (especially the least developed countries) to build trade capacity and infrastructure. Due to their significant investment in value chains in Africa particularly, SABMiller and Heineken were invited to participate in panel discussions to highlight these investments. It was also agreed that an informal beer reception co-hosted by the Worldwide Brewing Alliance and the four global brewers would be a perfect way for delegates to unwind at the end of day one and experience first-hand the results of these investments with beers from Africa and across the globe.

With Pascal Lamy, the Director-General of the WTO and senior representatives from Geneva missions, OECD, NGO groups and the UN among several hundred attending the beer reception, it was a great opportunity to highlight the strong links beer has to local supply chains and the jobs generated from the production and sale of beer. From securing jobs for local farmers of quality barley, sorghum, cassava and rice through to investment and support for cafes, taverns and pubs serving local communities – there are now 14 million jobs that are generated worldwide - of which a great share are now in Africa.

It was also important to remind people that beer is the third most popular drink in the world after water and tea, and is still brewed with the care and a sense of the tradition and heritage in honour of those who first discovered it many centuries ago.

Speaking to Mr Lamy over a beer afterwards I also couldn’t help but mention the positive reaction to the recent beer duty cut in the UK and the belated recognition of beer’s contribution to the economy and local communities...


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