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Kenya jostles with Ethiopia to host global congress

NAIROBI – Kenya is in a race among six bidders, including Ethiopia, to host a global trade congress that could bring over 1,500 delegates and business worth billions of shillings.

Talks are ongoing with the country’s northern neighbour to withdraw its bid, leaving Kenya as the only African contender for hosting the World Chamber Congress scheduled for 2021.

A delegation of the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI) and the Kenya Private Sector Alliance has been in Australia making a case for Kenya. At the close of World Chamber Congress held in Sydney, the Ethiopian delegation is said to have pledged to consider Kenya’s request.

“(We) managed to have bilateral talks with Ethiopia and resolved to settle on one bidder from Africa once an agreement is reached in a meeting to be held in Djibouti in December this year,” said KNCCI Chairman and head of the delegation Kiprono Kittony.

He added that having a single candidate from Africa would bolster the chances for success of the bid. “This will build a strong case for Africa to win a bid to host the World Chamber Congress in 2021,” said Mr Kittony.

The delegation included, among others, KNCCI Deputy Chairman James Mureu, chairman of the Nairobi Chamber Richard Ngatia, Kepsa Chief Executive Carol Kariuki and the Kenyan Ambassador to Australia, Mr Isaiah Kabira. Others were Peter Okoth of Kepsa and Guru Rajan, a director at KNCCI. Delegates spending Direct benefits of hosting the meetings include the spending by the delegates on travel and hospitality sectors, like in the previous comparable events such as the Word Trade Organisation conference held in Nairobi in December 2015, with accrued revenues estimated at Sh2.6 billion.

Mr Kittony expects that the realisable revenues could be “a lot more” citing that the congress attracts many more participants. Other contenders to host the congress are Dubai, Oman, Jordan and Iran – all from the Middle East region.

Previously, it is only South Africa that has been successful in hosting the congress. Meetings of the business leaders happen every two years and will next be hosted by Brazil in 2019.

Different regions play host on a rotational basis. The World Chambers Congress is an important event which brings together leaders of various chambers, business and high-profile government figures.

“The congress is the only international forum for chamber leaders and executives worldwide to share best practices, develop networks and learn about new areas of innovation,” said Mr Kittony.

Participants benefit in networking opportunities where they get to connect  with representatives from over 100 countries. With the ever-increasing global trade, there are emerging issues and challenges that are defining how international business is transacted.


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