President Sirleaf Addresses WTO 10th Ministerial Conference; Says Nairobi Outcome Fosters fairer and equitable trade for prosperity

Tuesday, 15th December 2015
President Sirleaf and Ambassador Azevedo perform signing ceremony.
President Sirleaf and Ambassador Azevedo perform signing ceremony.
Photo Credit: James M Garresen / Executive Mansion

Nairobi, Kenya - President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf says the Nairobi outcome of the 10TH Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization has the potential to foster fairer and more equitable trade for the prosperity of all peoples.

According to a dispatch from Nairobi, President Sirleaf made the assertion when she spoke at the Official Opening Ceremony of the 10th Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization (WTO) at the Jomo Kenyatta International Convention Center in Nairobi, Kenya.    

President Sirleaf used the occasion to congratulate President Kenyatta and the good people of Kenya for the warm hospitality accorded her delegation and for demonstrating the capacity to host such a critical meeting that is poised to impact global trade.

The Liberian leader further expressed deep honor for the opportunity to join President Kenyatta on such historic occasion marking the official opening ceremony of the 10th Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization, the first ever on the African continent.

She described the hosting of the WTO Summit as a significant testament of President Kenyatta’s leadership and the role that Kenya continues to play as an economic giant in Africa, driving innovations of transformation that continue to meaningfully impact the lives of his people and the continent at large.

President Sirleaf reiterated her profound gratitude to the government and people of Kenya for the warm reception accorded her delegation and the honor of distinction bestowed on her, owing to her admission as Chief of the Order of the Golden Heart of Kenya; the nation’s highest honor.

Anticipating Liberia’s Accession on Wednesday, December 16, 2015 as a dramatic manifestation of progress, President Sirleaf indicated that she saw the achievement as a historical milestone in Liberia’s journey of transformation given its acceptance into such noble world club; underscoring that the moment equally marks the first step towards the convergence of ideas that she referred to as  most optimistic and will lead to historical milestones in strengthening the rules based on the multilateral trading system in the interest of prosperity for all.

President Sirleaf also used the occasion to call for the celebration of a turning point in driving the global climate change commitments in the interest of a healthier and safer world for all as reflected in the recent COP21 conclusion in Paris.

She further acknowledged the invaluable contributions of the Conference’s Chair, the Director General and  the WTO family, as well as distinguished delegates who over the last twenty years worked to ensure that the rules  based on the multilateral trading system evolved with the ever growing complexities of the world. She encouraged them to cogently utilize the deliberations of the conference to play a constructive role in contributing to a world we all want, to an Africa we all want and to a WTO we all want.

For his part, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta encouraged delegates to adopt a sense of open mind in making proper representations of their respective countries and pointed out that the gathering was a victory for Kenya and Africa in particular to for the first time host the WTO Meeting.  “Africa is now within reach as a result of global trade liberalization”, he indicated.

He termed 2015 as a unique year in light of the positive developments that have unfolded and brought rewarding returns; alluding to the SDGs, its adoption, the Ethiopia international financing conference and the climate change milestone which are all encouraging news over the last couple of months and noted that the world is now ready for inclusiveness.

Speaking during the occasion, WTO Director General, Ambassador Roberto Azevedo paid tribute to the government and people of Kenya and thanked President Kenyatta for believing in the power of trade. Ambassador Azevedo also lauded President Sirleaf for her leadership that has informed Liberia Accession to the WTO.

In separate comments – Uganda Prime Minister, Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda, and Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Dr. Amina Mohammed recounted the historical progress of 2015 including the SDGs, the Addis Ababa international financing conference, and adoption of SDGs in New York and the monumental outcome of Paris – Climate Change agreement.