Nairobi is seeking to shrug off stiff competition from four global cities such as Dubai to host a major global forum for world business leaders in 2021, the country’s trade lobby group announced on Wednesday.
A Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI) delegation has put in Kenya’s bid for the 12th World Chamber Congress which brings together top corporate executives and policymakers from more than 100 countries after every two years.
KNCCI is betting on Nairobi’s improved standing in hosting high-level international events, including the 2015 World Trade Organisation (WTO) Conference and the promise of safari game drive—which Dubai cannot offer.
“The delegates would be happy to learn that Kenya has the best facilities anyone could offer, plus a chance to take a safari holiday besides the congress,” said Richard Ngatia, the chairman of the Nairobi Chapter of the KNCCI in a statement from Beijing where Kenya presented its bid to the International Chamber of Commerce jury.
“I think there is every reason for the judges to award the host city to Nairobi, because we have an offering like none of our challengers.”
First on African soil
Nairobi successfully hosted the first ever Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) on African soil in August 2016, less than a year after world leaders converged on the Kenyatta International Convention Centre for the 10th World Trade Organisation Ministerial Conference in December 2015.
KNCCI’s bid delegation, led by the lobby’s vice-chair James Mureu, presented Kenya’s case before the World Chambers Federation (WCF) meeting in Beijing.
“It is going to be a congress like no other before. We would like it to coincide with the wildebeest migration,” Mr Mureu was quoted to have told the panel in a statement.
Kenya witnesses a jump in tourist arrivals from July with safari-lovers racing to see the hundreds of thousands of wildebeest that run into hungry crocodiles as they cross the Mara River in search of greener pastures on the Kenya-Tanzania border.
South Africa was the last African country to host the global congress nearly 13 years ago.
KNCCI national chair Kiprono Kittony, who was in June 2017 elected vice- chair of WCF, said most countries on the continent have endorsed Kenya’s bid.
“We believe we have put the best bid of the four presented today as the mood was very bullish as Kenya was presenting, indicating that our product was different and we hope the judges will allow Kenya and Africa to be the next host,” Mr Kittony said.
Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro will be the host next year. Other countries that have hosted the meeting in the past are France, South Korea, Canada, Turkey, Malaysia, Mexico, Qatar and Italy.