Why hosting WTO is such a big deal for Kenya

August 31, 2015
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But according to Secretary-General of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) Mukhisa Kituyi, hosting WTO in Nairobi is still a big deal/FILE
But according to Secretary-General of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) Mukhisa Kituyi, hosting WTO in Nairobi is still a big deal/FILE
NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 31 – A few months after the Global Entrepreneur Summit (GES) in June, Kenya is once again expected to host another major event; the 10th World Trade Organisation (WTO) Ministerial Conference.

The government has assured that all is set for the conference which is expected to take place December 15 to 18, this year.

“We are ready for it even if the conference starts next week,” said Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed on Monday.

Popularity of GES was greatly due to the summit being hosted by US President Barack Obama. But according to Secretary-General of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) Mukhisa Kituyi, hosting WTO in Nairobi is still a big deal. Reasons?

A critical global decision making meeting

It is very prestigious for any country to be the host of a meeting that makes decisions which will govern the countries, not one year, but two years. It is a major decision making meeting that makes rules which govern all countries that are members of WTO on international trade as well as the way the World trade goes even if you are not a member of WTO. So this is like a ‘ritual’ of making rules to rule the World.

Kenya becomes first African nation to host WTO

For the first time since the formation of the organisation (1995), an African country is hosting the ministerial meeting. It is not only prestigious but it gives you a bull’s eye opportunity to control a process at a critical time for the Doha Round. The WTO is attempting to complete negotiations on the Doha Development Round, which was launched in 2001 with an explicit focus on developing countries.

Nairobi will remain in the books of history, if key decisions are passed

Many countries get their names engraved in the books of history, if a major initiative starts in their land. For example, since 2001, the World talks of Doha Round negotiations. You know, Doha the little capital of Qatar get the prominence that there was a promise that the trade rules would be disciplined to serve developing countries.

If in Nairobi we can start with new ambitious program, relevant to Africa’s future interest, we will call it Nairobi Round. It means that in the next decade or so, we will be referring to the Nairobi agenda as the Nairobi round negotiations. It is a brand name; a branding exercise that the world uses without investing anything in it.

Global recognition

Just like GES, the World Trade Organisation meet is going to put Kenya on global scale considering we are the first to host this conference in Africa. Nairobi will be hosting close to 5,000 people as delegates and this plays as a major tourism boost, I mean a whole conference tourism. Hosting these people also exposes a country in terms of what it is able to do, to the World. It will roll back the perception of Kenya as a hotbed of terrorism and show that we are a hotbed of hospitality.

Kenya won the bid to host the 10th conference scheduled after member countries of the WTO unanimously made the decision following intense lobbying by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade led by the Cabinet Secretary.

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