- 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