Security intensified as WTO kicks off in Nairobi

December 13, 2015 6:16 pm
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The Ministerial Conference is the highest decision making body of the WTO and where the business of WTO is conducted. Photo/CFM.
The Ministerial Conference is the highest decision making body of the WTO and where the business of WTO is conducted. Photo/CFM.
NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 13- Over 100 ministers from across the world are in the country to attend the Tenth Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization (WTO) kicking off in Nairobi Monday amid tight security.

Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed on Sunday announced that all ministers from the 162 countries which are members of the WTO had confirmed to attend the crucial global event taking place in Africa for the first time.

“We expect all of them to be represented and at the highest possible levels from the Ministries of Trade of these countries. We have a huge number who are here for the China Round Table which started today (Sunday) and others will come in for the Women in Business Conference that begins tomorrow (Monday),” she said during a media briefing at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC), the venue of the global event.

In the upcoming discussions, Amina said, Kenya and Africa’s hope lies in the successful conclusion of the Doha Development Agenda (DDA).

The Doha Declaration focused on the concerns of developing countries by promising major reforms in agriculture, particularly reductions in subsidies and tariffs provided by developed countries, Non-Agricultural Market Access, Special and Differential Treatment for developing countries, among others.

The MC 10 will also conclusively address issues of market access by Least Developed Countries (LDC), eliminate trade-distorting domestic support, elimination of export subsidies and application of export competition disciplines to cotton, duty-free quota-free access for cotton exports and affirmation of the development objectives of the DDA.

The Ministerial Conference is the highest decision making body of the WTO and where the business of WTO is conducted.

CS Mohamed who will be the chair of the sessions during the meeting said she is optimistic that all the negotiations will have positive outcome for all the members adding that it was time to renew and modernize WTO.

“As the chair of the conference it may be very difficult for me to start discussing substance even before I have my first consultations. But what I must say is that it is time we modernize WTO. It is time that the WTO became the centre of the multilateral trading system, the way that it was intended to be,” she said, adding “We have not had much work in WTO for a long time and I believe this is the crossroads.”

At least over 5000 delegates are expected in Nairobi for the conference which will end on Friday next week.

Police on Sunday announced that security has been intensified across the city ahead of the global meeting.

“We have put in place all the necessary security measures, including road traffic arrangements,” Police Spokesman Charles Owino said.

He said more police officers have been deployed to provide security and direct traffic due to the high profile dignitaries attending the event.

Roads to be closed from Monday morning include Harambee Avenue, City Hall Way, Parliament Road, Taifa Road, with disruptions expected on Wabera and Kaunda Streets.

“We urge motorists to cooperate with police officers directing traffic because of this important conference that is taking place in Africa for the first time,” Owino told Capital FM News on telephone.

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