Category Archives: MC10

WTO MC10 in Nairobi, Kenya – Part II

This week saw Nairobi host the 10th Ministerial Conference (MC10) of the World Trade Organization (WTO). It was a very well-organized event with the main conference at KICC and side events held at nearby hotels around there. IMG_20151217_092339

Downtown Nairobi was on lockdown with a roped off sections around the conference zones with extra security and only authorized pedestrians and cars allowed. There were about 3,000 delegates from 160 countries  and with many varied expectations on outcomes from the week

I found myself spending more time at the TDS– Trade & Development Symposium. Many leading country delegates who were experts on various issues like trade negotiations, agriculture subsidies, government policy were invited and gave talks in specialize sessions after which there were Q&A sessions:

Here are some notable  moments from the #TDSNairobi #MC10

  • Brauner: #WTO rules of origin will be clarified so an LDC can source 75% of components and still own a final product
  • Groning: Bangladesh has reduced poverty levels from 57% to 25% in two decades mainly due to garment exports
  • @Erastus_Mwencha Govts should spend only 10% of time on AGOA & EU, and 90% on negotiating doing business within africaIMG_20151214_115516
  • Lande: #CFTA Africa should negotiate as a bloc like EU and delay reciprocity with the US till AGOA expires in 2025
  • Lande: African countries shouldn’t individually sign preferential deals with third countries – that will repeat Berlin 1878 
  • Olayiwola: Does ECOWAS need the CFTA when only 11% of its trade is within Africa? – Europe & Asia are larger markets
  • Ngeno: #TFTA took long because of DFID & EU delays – so can member states fund the negotiations?
  • @TradeMarkEastA Scanning outgoing containers for ivory adds to biz. export costs – and port corruption negates the effort
  • @ShikwatiJames We are converting EAC into a huge supermarket instead of a huge factory
  • Kanimba: Terms like LDC are artificial & meaningless. Ghana rebased to middle-income overnight but no citizen was richer
  • Kanimba: Ghana did not, but governments should mandate supermarket in malls to reserve shelf space for indigenous products 
  • Kanimba: Without guaranteed prices for staple foods, we won’t get educated middle-class Africans into farming
  • Lucy Muchoki: If we can’t work together (e.g. Tanzanians don’t trust Kenyans), inter-Africa trade will be a dream
  • Lucy Muchoki: There’s no sensitization about trade. While there are thousands of AGOA products, Kenya does about 10
  • @AartiShahAfrica The average case takes 3.8 years to clear in the Kenya judiciary — digital economy can speed that
  • Ana Escobedo: Even if there are no national policies, reality is companies will negotiate local content with communities
  • @ASteiner A historic agreement was signed in Paris, ending the fossil fuel era, and this affects everything WTO does
  • Pengelly: Africa features in two large caucus; ACP bringing North-South and the LDC- 50 least developed countries IMG_20151217_092007
  • David Stanton – @TradeMarkEastA is investing to reduce transit times through technology infrastructure and political will
  • Karanja Kibicho: If you don’t tackle youth unemployment, you burden governments. Start with trade & markets for products
  • Mark Eddo – @AMB_A_Mohammed worked day & night to ensure representatives of 163 countries and TDS came to Africa.

WTO MC10 in Nairobi, Kenya

This week sees Nairobi hosts the 10th Ministerial Conference (MC10) of the World Trade Organization (WTO). The (MC) meetings take place every two years and are the main decision-making forum of the WTO. This is the first time that a ministerial conference is being held in Africa and it’s expected that ministers from all 162 WTO member states will attend.

Alongside the WTO at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre (KICC) are a few other related events being run concurrently at hotels near the MC10 venue. These include:

  • The International Forum on Women in Business Forum
  • (The) Trade and Development Symposium
  • UNCTAD & the Government of Kenya high-level meetings.

Africa’s New TFTA Economic Bloc

So what’s the TFTA (download an English language PDF here)? Why is it so important?  And what’s good about it for Kenya? A lot of that is in this nice article by the Oxford Business Group titled Kenya to benefit from newly agreed TFTA. 


  • The Tripartite Free Trade Agreement (TFTA) is an economic integration initiative pursued by the East African Community (EAC), the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC), which will create a 26-country integrated economic bloc.
  • Members of the TFTA aim to progressively eliminate tariffs to trade in goods, liberalise trade in services, cooperate on customs matters, among other areas.
  • Kenya is expected to be 1 of only 5 countries in the bloc to see exports increase by more than $100m following full implementation of the TFTA.
  • The TFTA gives Kenyan exporters preferential access to 6 new markets not already covered by the EAC or COMESA, namely Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia and South Africa.
  • “Sensitive” agricultural goods like sugar, maize, wheat and rice will be subject to duty and quota restrictions, as will other products such as cement, plastics, electronics and paper till at least 2017 to give these industries in some countries time to adjust to increased competition.Highland tea export journey
  • Members of the TFTA aim to progressively eliminate tariffs to trade in goods, liberalise trade in services, cooperate on customs matters, among other areas.

Ahead of the World Trade Organizations (WTO) 10th Ministerial Conference (MC10) to be held later this month in Nairobi, Kenya’s parliament (national assembly) hurriedly ratified the TFTA . This was in a debate just before their year-end recess, and during this, some members chastised the government (executive) for being slow to bring  the TFTA before parliament – and legislative assent is a condition that all member states must meet.