Visiting Namibian President Hage Geingob and his Kenyan host President Uhuru Kenyatta led calls Monday for the reform of the global trading system during high-level talks on globalization and trade at the start of the 14th session of the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) in Nairobi, Kenya.
President Geingob spoke about the reform of the trade environment, taking into account Africa’s needs for the local processing of raw materials such as diamonds and the transfer of knowledge, creation of jobs and the empowerment of women and youth through equitable investments and opportunities.
“We in Namibia have diamonds. As long as we are trading in raw materials, the transfer of technology takes place somewhere else and the jobs are created somewhere else. We are unable to move to the middle income status because of this,” President Geingob told delegates at the conference.
The July 17-22 conference is exploring mechanisms to enrich global trade with most of the African countries making a push for the reform of the global trading environment.
The African countries have called for steps to ensure the worldwide interest on loans are stabilized to keep the local economies stable in the middle of a global economic crisis since 2008.
President Kenyatta, also speaking about the need for Africa to ensure a stable trading environment, called for measures to ensure the UN Security Council is fairly transformed to be able to guarantee the global safety and security of all citizens.
“The world has changed since 1945. It is not and should not be about those who came first,” President Kenyatta said, reiterating the need for reform of the global trading environment.
President Kenyatta said the UN reforms would make the other UN agencies responsive to the needs of the countries that receive the assistance offered by the respective UN agencies.
President Kenyatta said proper planning and distribution of foreign aid would shift the nature of assistance obtained from the various UN agencies.
The Kenyan President, who is one of the African Union (AU) Heads of State Committee of 10 on UN Security Council Reforms, said it was necessary to let the UN agencies work towards the benefit of the civilians around the world, but spending the funds in investments, rather than crisis financing.
President Kenyatta said instead of waiting for drought and funding drought and food shortages, UN agencies should invest in food security initiatives that lead to more stability across the globe.
“We are all talking about the same language. The food insecurity is not a challenge. It is an opportunity to reform. It is an investment opportunity,” President Kenyatta said.