“We have done something remarkable today. Kenya thanks you, Africa thanks you.” – Amb Amina Mohamed
On the 19th of December 2015, after hours of grueling negotiations, history was made at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre in Nairobi with the ‘Nairobi Declaration.’
Though this was achieved 24 hours after the WTO’s 10th Ministerial Conference was scheduled to end, the Nairobi Declaration has been hailed as historic, particularly for Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and for global agricultural development.
With the Nairobi Declaration members have agreed to eliminate export subsidies on farm products, which have been a boon to farmers from poorer nations competing with subsidised farmers from wealthier countries.
The package also states that cotton subsidies will be eliminated, which is especially important for the Cotton 4 (Benin, Chad, Burkina Faso, and Mali).
Speaking at the closing ceremony the WTO Director General, Roberto Azevêdo stated:
“Congratulations on the Nairobi package. The decision you have taken today on export competition is truly historic.”
“The decisions you have taken in Nairobi this week will help to improve the lives and prospects of many people — around the world and here in Africa,” he continued.
It wasn’t an easy ride for delegates who worked well into the night in order to deliver the Nairobi Declaration.
Amb Amina Mohamed revealed that: “We faced challenging moments… Tough calls had to be made. But we bit the bullet.”
There were also other significant achievements at MC10; the accession of Afghanistan and Liberia (two LDCs) and the extension of the Information Technology Act (ITA) which will stop tariffs on 201 IT products valued at over $1.3 trillion per year.
Amb Mohamed noted that it has truly been a great year for multi-materialism with the announcement of the Nairobi Declaration, which was preceded by the announcement of the Paris Agreement at COP 21 and the establishment of the global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
It has equally been a great year for Kenya, starting with the historic visit of President Obama for the Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES), followed by the much anticipated visit of Pope Francis, ending with the hosting of the MC10, the first to be ever held on African soil.
Amb Amina Mohamed, Cabinet Secretary of Foreign Affairs in Kenya, also made history as the first woman and first African to chair the ministerial conference.
It is truly an honour that the historic Nairobi Declaration was cemented on Kenyan soil. It was also a great honour to host all the delegates. We look forward to your return. Asanteni! (Thank you!)
To read the draft Nairobi Declaration click here.