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Kenya wants to host World Economic Forum

NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 25 – Kenya on Wednesday expressed interest in hosting the 2010 World Economic Forum on Africa.

Prime Minister Raila Odinga told the Head of Africa Division of the World Economic Forum Catherine Tweedie, that Kenya has adequate facilities to host about 700 participants expected at the forum next year.

“We are very eager to host this forum. We have all that it takes to host it. After all, we have been hosting the biggest UN station outside New York and Geneva,” Mr Odinga said.

The 2008 World Economic Forum was held in South Africa, where this year’s will also take place in June.

“If there is one reason why South Africa must not host this forum next year, it is because it will be hosting the World Cup. We have strong credentials. We are just coming out of a crisis and this forum would be good for us to show the world that we have put the worst behind us,” the PM said.

“We have a vibrant business sector just like South Africa. We are the leaders in this region. Nairobi is by all counts the hub outside South Africa,” he added.

Ms Tweedie assured the Prime Minister of her support but asked the government to write a formal request detailing how it would raise funds for the forum.

“I agree that the Forum has been domiciled in South Africa for sometime and if we want to make it a truly African affair, we need to host it in other regions,” she said.

The PM said he had written a formal letter last year to the forum, but would write again this time detailing funding for the conference.

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Mr Odinga said he was confident Kenya’s business sector would be willing to raise funds for the conference which would showcase the country.

South Africa, he said, spent about $1 million on the conference, an amount he said Kenya could raise.

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