All eyes on Kenya as UNCTAD opens in Nairobi


JF-Expert Member
May 11, 2013

Delegates during a meeting between the Group of 77 developing countries and China at the 14th session of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre in Nairobi PHOTO | SALATON NJAU


  • Thousands of delegates drawn from 194 member countries of UNCTAD will be holding week-long deliberations on key economic issues including the fall in commodity prices, globalisation, economic partnerships and sustainable development.

President Uhuru Kenyatta and United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon Sunday evening presided over the opening of the 14th United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) in Nairobi.

The two leaders flew in from Kigali, Rwanda, where they had attended the 27th African Union Summit.

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, who was scheduled to give a key note speech, sent Vice-President Edward Ssekandi to represent him. Namibia President Hage Geingob is also attending the conference.

Foreign Affairs secretary Amina Mohamed said Mr Museveni skipped the event to campaign for former Ugandan vice president Specioza Kazibwe who is seeking the African Union chairmanship.

“The AU Summit is taking place and they are discussing very weighty issues of electing the chairman and the commission so all the delegates want to be present. Uganda had confirmed, but they have a candidate for the chair’s position,” said Ms Mohamed at a Press briefing.

She said that the Nairobi conference had made history with over 70 ministers attending the opening ceremony.

The thousands of delegates drawn from 194 member countries of UNCTAD will be holding week-long deliberations on key economic issues including the fall in commodity prices, globalisation, economic partnerships and sustainable development.

Kenya is among the developing countries hopeful that negotiations will help their economies, increase investments and save them from debt distress.

The forum is also expected to come up with tangible measures aimed at reducing global economic inequality among other pressing challenges.

UN officials, heads of governments, global private and public sectors representatives, civil society and youth groups will be under pressure to ensure that the final text meets the expectations of the world.

The success of the United Nations arm mobilising financing for development will be measured by the amount of investments that will be pledged and achieved during the conference.

UNCTAD Secretary-General Mukhisa Kituyi said they are targeting over Sh1.4 trillion ($14 billion) by the end of the week.

“The last World Investment Forum which lasted three days, unlike this one which goes for four days, ended with transactions and deals worth $14 billion. There’s no reason we shouldn’t. I think there would substantially be larger number of governments and companies and interested investors participating in our match-making,” he said in earlier interview.

READ: What Kenya stands to gain from UNCTAD Nairobi meeting

The main conference has been structured to come out with a framework that will address challenges and opportunities in multilateralism for trade and development.

All eyes on Kenya as UNCTAD opens in Nairobi

Ian Cruz

JF-Expert Member
May 4, 2016
UNCTAD AND TICAD,cementing kenya in its leagues.....wale waje wajionee na wale na macho tu hapa!!


JF-Expert Member
Jan 14, 2010
UNCTAD AND TICAD,cementing kenya in its leagues.....wale waje wajionee na wale na macho tu hapa!!

Naona mambo hayaendi vizuri ktk mkutano wa UNCTAD 14, maana EU a.k.a Umoja wa Ulaya wamegomea vipengele muhimu ambavyo ni masuala nyeti sana kwa nchi zinazoendelea kuweza kujikuza kiuchumi ili kupata Maendeleo-Endelevu a.k.a Sustainable Development hii ikiwemo nchi kama Kenya, ambayo ni mwenyeji wa mkutano UNCTAD 14.

Wiki mbili zilizopita wakati Tanzania ilipogoma kutia saini makubaliano-ya- EPA (Economic Partnership Agreement) kati ya EAC na EU mlipiga kelele! Tanzania hii ! inatufanyia njama mbaya (Kenya). Je katika hali hii ya EU kugomea vipengele vya UNCTAD 14 mtapaza sauti kwa kiwango kile kile kuwa ''ni njama mbaya za kuhujumu uchumi wa Kenya?

Tuangalie nini kilichotekea katika ''mgomo'' wa EU kuwa UNCTAD 14 isipewe ''meno'' kuhakikisha nchi zinazo-endelea na zilizo-endelea zipate haki sawa katika masuala ya makubaliano/mikataba ya masoko, nafuu ya kodi n.k :

July 20, 2016
Nairobi, Kenya

EU opposes bid to give teeth to UN body

The European Union (EU) has opposed a bid by developing countries to change the mandate of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (Unctad) to make it the main agency for addresssing trade inequalities in the world.

This is one of the contentious issues threatening to derail a successful outcome from the ongoing 14th Unctad meeting in Nairobi.

On Wednesday, a delegation from the European Parliament argued that giving Unctad more teeth will create duplication because there were other international bodies already handling these issues.

“The question is how far the Unctad shall work. Is Unctad an advisory organisation, a capacity building organisation or a lawmaking body?” asked Mr Bernd Lange, the chair of the Joint Delegation of Trade and Development Committee of the European Parliament.

“Our position is that we have the World Trade Organisation and we have other organisations where laws have to be created. Unctad is playing a big role for the G20 for example. G20 is one of the right organisations where the question of text has to be discussed,” he added.

By this assertion, the EU, which is one of the main negotiating blocs here, is opposing the proposal by the G77 and China, to which Kenya is a member.

At the start of Unctad 14 last weekend, the G77+China group asked delegates to consider giving Unctad more teeth to address challenges of trade imbalances, tax dodging, debt management and other issues related to development.

“We reiterate that the global economic, financial and trading system, including multilateral trading system remains unbalanced, that global inequality remains with many still in the abyss of poverty,” the group said in their proposed declaration.

It further stated: “We call for the strengthening of Unctad’s mandate and its three pillars ... recognising its central role as the focal point within the United Nations for integrated treatment of trade and development”.

Unctad, which is a UN body formed in the 1960s, was meant to address issues of market access and trade tariffs for new nations, especially those that had gained independence at the time.

Its three pillars were research and analysis, building consensus among nations and helping in technical cooperation.


Developing nations like Kenya think having a stronger Unctad will address the continual problem of tax cheating, sovereign debt management and sharing of new technology.

But in the search for a final document called the Nairobi Consensus, the Unctad meeting has brought four different negotiating sides.

These include the EU and G77+China. Others are Japan, US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, which are pushing for a common position, and Russia and its neighbours outside the EU, and those considered as Group B countries on another side.

The European parliamentarians called for better “protection of investments” as long as investors work within what they called “sustainable development” parameters. They also supported calls to address tax cheating. The question is how the delegates will frame the document.

On Wednesday, Kenya’s permanent representative to the UN in Geneva, Dr Stephen Karau, said the general issues under negotiation will be the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), foreign aid and development assistance, taxation rules, debt restructuring and gender issues in trade.

But he refused to discuss whether the issues raised by the EU had derailed the talks, only saying the matter could not be discussed with media.

“Everybody’s interests need to be taken into account because the outcome of the negotiations is like a political manifesto,” Dr Karau told the Nation. “The main thing that we are addressing is the SDGs because after this meeting, members will have to use the outcome as a reference point going forward.” In a press briefing, Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed, who is the president of Unctad 14, played down the disagreements.

“We are progressing well and delegations are showing flexibility on some of the issues under discussion. I will provide more details on this once the negotiations are concluded,” she told journalists at the KICC.

Besides the disagreement on the mandate of Unctad, delegates are also faced with the sticking issue of non-tariff barriers.

Unctad revealed that developing countries are losing up to $23 billion (Sh2.3 trillion) worth of exports for failing to meet health, environmental and other policy restrictions on their goods. Though some of the conditions are legitimate, the UN agency argued they have to be checked because they add to exportation costs for traders despite a decline in tariffs over time.

“We certainly don’t expect G20 countries to drop all their non-tariff measures, which serve important policy objectives such as health and safety, but we do need to manage this issue better,” Unctad deputy secretary-general Joakim Reiter, said in a statement.
Source: EU opposes bid to give teeth to Unctad


JF-Expert Member
Jan 14, 2010
July 20, 2016
Nairobi, Kenya

EU legislators push for new EPA deadline to ‘save Kenya’

Members of the European Parliament are rooting for the extension of the October deadline to sign the comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between East African Community (EAC) and the EU.

The MPs said the extension would help salvage the deal expected to offer Kenya relief from heavy taxes for exports to the EU after Tanzania and Burundi threw a spanner in the works.

Tanzania has refused to sign the agreement while Burundi is on the verge of being sanctioned by the EU following political instability in the country.

Bernd Lange, the chairman of a joint EU delegation of Trade and Development Committee attending the 14th United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) in Nairobi, said Kenya would be the biggest casualty should the standoff persist.

“Our first proposal is to have the October 1st deadline extended to allow for more time and see whether Tanzania will agree to sign or if Burundi will improve her democratic situation and evade sanction from the European Union. If none of these happen then I expect that Kenya will apply for the GSP [Generalised System of Preferences] Plus and when it is received then we can begin the market access regulations and save Kenya,” Mr Lange said.

The scenario might also spell doom to more than 600,000 workers, mainly on the flower farms, and fresh foods producers.

This is not the first time Tanzania has been a hurdle in the signing of the EPA. In 2014, Kenya suffered a setback after Tanzania refused to sign the pact that East African delegates negotiated in Brussels.

Source: EU legislators push for new EPA deadline to ‘save Kenya’

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