President of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta, today officially handed over the “baton” for the presidency of the 15th Session of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD 15), to Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley.
Kenya hosted UNCTAD 14 in 2016 and UNCTAD 15 was to be held last year, but was delayed by one year because of COVID-19.
Mr. Kenyatta said UNCTAD 15 is taking place in extraordinary circumstances, and expressed confidence in Ms. Mottley’s ability to lead the world through this meeting, which is addressing complex developmental challenges.
Stating that the conference is in “very good hands”, the President continued: “Her Excellency (Ms. Mottley) has demonstrated boldness and ambition for a better world order, with a great vision…. Kenya, as always, stands ready and willing to support Barbados in whatever way we can, to ensure that the conference is a success.”
He commended the UNCTAD Secretariat and delegates for working tirelessly to produce an outcome that supported UNCTAD’s primary purpose of assisting developing countries to integrate into the global economy.
“Despite the unprecedented challenges, occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic, UNCTAD has remained steadfast in delivering on its mandate with the unwavering support of all its members,” President Kenyatta stated.
Ms. Mottley thanked the President, saying she was accepting the mantle on behalf of the Government and people of Barbados and the Caribbean Community at this juncture in world affairs, when so much seemed to be going wrong.
“We believe that the issues, in many instances, can be met by judicious policies, fairness, equity and opportunity. But we also recognise that as easy as it is to say so, it is that much harder to persuade….
“In the same way that this organisation (UNCTAD) has done great work that eventually has come to be embraced as norms, we hope that over…the next three years, we can, through the Bridgetown Covenant as well as the Spirit of Speightstown, which is the political declaration, … be able to have an impact on the conduct of development and trade across the global community,” she stated.
The Prime Minister said Barbados and the Caribbean Community were committed to engaging the world together, as they had faced similar circumstances, trials, tribulations and opportunities.
She noted that the past two days of the hybrid conference had proven to be a “ground breaker”, which worked well.