So What is UNCTAD?

So uncle UNCTAD is in town for the second time after 40 years .And just like those strange words “receivership” and “Brexit” we can bet that these six days will see “UNCTAD” as the most searched word on Google search.
This event is expected to turn our city around, i mean AROUND with prominent world leaders and CEO’s landing into our country. Of course ,with the who and who coming to a “city near you”(pun) you’d expect by now most people would at least have an idea what UNCTAD is. But that’s not the case, Yesterday when I happened to mention the word during a conversation with a friend I was met with an innocent question of “what is UNCTAD?”
The most expected reaction would be looking at this friend with bewildered eyes while searching for a tag on his clothes reading “just landed from mars” .But I understood, because unlike other events Kenya has hosted such as GES the difference in attention and prominence is highly notable.
Some of us will actually have our curiosity aroused after receiving several forwaded messages on the ongoing road diversions or when we unknowingly land right next to that road block. Leaving us no other option but to keep our ears open or search online what the big deal is.

So what exactly is this UNCTAD (place Russian accent)?
Well UNCTAD is a global conference that takes place once every four years. (Wondering why I never heard about it yet this is UNCTAD xiv). The abbreviation in full stands for United Nations Conference on Trade and development. Making UNCTAD the UN organ set up to promote trade and development in developing countries .

So you mean UNCTAD’s main work is to organize this global conference?
Not really ,there’s so much UNCTAD does before the conference part .They undertake research on issues relevant to trade & development, then they provide technical assistance tailored to specific needs of different developing countries and finally arrange forums where discussions are made on the main agenda like the one starting tomorrow.

So what will be taking place at the conference?
There will be several mini events happening on the specified dates (see http://www.UNCTAD14.org for calendar of events) which will involve discussions with a particular focus on how domestic policies on trade interact with international actions to mutually support local growth.

So what specific issues are expected to be discussed during this forum?
Well from this year’s theme and mini-forums we can tell that there will be discussions on Policy space, investment and even the strengthening of UNCTAD.

So what exactly should we expect after UNCTAD14?
At least there will be a better Understanding of global trade issues and also following on the theme, Translating agenda 2030 decisions into action discussions on how everything discussed can be put into action.

So how does Kenya stand to benefit from hosting the conference?
From the huge turnout expected by different world organizations & companies we should likely expect a great interest to invest in the country.

So how can I attend the conference?
Well, this year’s event will be starting from 17th-22nd July at the KICC, Nairobi. From the website details registration for some forums have been closed but using the contact details on the site I’m sure you can get more details.

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