NAIROBI, Kenya, June 8 – Kenya’s former Trade Minister Mukhisa Kituyi was on Monday endorsed by the COMESA Authority for the position of Secretary General of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).
Capital Business spoke to Mr Kituyi soon after the endorsement and he explained that his nomination was a result of efforts that commenced four years ago by the ‘African group’ in the World Trade Organization (WTO).
“The UNCTAD Secretary General position is one that has four-year tenure and while the current Secretary General has only done one term, the African group of countries is not happy with his leadership,” Mr Kituyi said.
He touted this as the reason why his candidature has gathered momentum so far.
Mr Kituyi’s candidature will however face competition from Ivory Coast which has fronted its own candidate.
“Ivory Coast is arguing that the one and only time in the 80s that the position was held by an African he was from an Anglophone country and so its candidature should be considered for the position,” he explained.
Ivory Coast is a French-speaking country.
Thailand’s Supachai Panitchpakdi is the current Secretary General. UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon has the option to either re-appoint Dr Supachai for a second term or appoint a new candidate altogether.
Mr Kituyi said his candidature has so far received support from the Ministries of Trade, Foreign affairs and the Prime Ministers office.
“Top lobbying is going on in Addis ababa, Geneva, and New York,” he said.
A new Secretary General is expected to be picked in July, to take up office in September.