Kenya shortlisted to host UN services centre
The consultants had initially recommended 14 possible locations, including Nairobi, after a rigorous process that involved consultations on the availability of skilled workers, robust Internet connectivity, security and a business-friendly environment.
The list was subjected to further criteria and was reduced to five.
The Kenyan Government submitted a bid to host the centre in Nairobi back in August this year and has so far managed to be shortlisted among the top five host countries.
Other shortlisted countries are Philippines, Malaysia, Hungary and Czech Republic.
In a press statement, Kenya’s UN Mission said Nairobi has attracted major technology companies like Microsoft and Google and is poised to compete even more effectively.
“Another plus for Kenya is that Nairobi is host city of one of the four UN headquarters, the others being New York, Geneva and Vienna,” read the statement in part.
UN REFORM AGENDA
A Unicef technical evaluation team on Tuesday held discussions with Kenyan Cabinet secretaries, among them Foreign Affair’s CS Amina Mohammed, on the country’s interest and ability to host the centre.
Nairobi Deputy Governor Jonathan Mueke welcomed the establishment of the centre and welcomed other firms seeking to establish a presence in Nairobi County.
Unicef intends to name the top two locations by the end of November 2014, with the eventual host being unveiled at the end of December.
The centre is meant to boost the organisation’s efficiency and reduce costs through centralising its global operations.
Once it is set up, it will have at least 350 members of staff, with a majority of about 85 per cent from the host country.
The UN is currently undertaking a drastic reform agenda that seeks financial savings while sustaining service delivery.
Its office in Nairobi has been identified as one of the possible locations that offer lower operating costs, combined with a competitive labour pool.
Currently, the UN offices at Gigiri employ about 1,200 international staff and 2,000 Kenyan nationals.