Kenya must step up quest for global jobs

Friday, February 16th, 2024 03:30 | By
Kenya must step up quest for global jobs

It is two years since Mukhisa Kituyi ended his tour of duty as the Secretary-General of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (Unctad), the highest position that a Kenyan has ever held at any global agency.

Apart from holding such positions of influence at the regional level of the East African Community, several attempts by Kenya in the recent past to lobby for her citizens to hold such a crucial position at the African Union (AU), United Nations (UN) and other agencies have fallen flat due to a combination of reasons.

Last year, Kenya lost its bid for the position of secretary general for the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), the UN’s agency responsible for the safety and security of shipping and the prevention of marine pollution.

Kenya’s nominee Nancy Karigithu was trounced by Panama’s Arsenio Velasco due to what analysts said was the country’s lack of a clear ambition on the international stage as well as an ambivalent foreign policy.

It was the fifth time Kenya had failed to secure an influential position in the UN system in a span of two years, a situation blamed on poor lobbying efforts on the global stage.

Concerns have also been raised about Kenya’s tendency to appoint failed politicians as ambassadors at the expense of professional diplomats.

A few months before Karigithu’s defeat, former Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Raychelle Omamo lost the bid to become the first female President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).

This had been preceded by the withdrawal of former Cabinet Secretary Monica Juma from the race for the Secretary-General of the Commonwealth due to divisions among members.

Former Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed has unsuccessfully tried her luck for the positions of African Union Commission chairman and the World Trade Organisation boss.

And now, with former Prime Minister Raila Odinga having expressed his interest in the position of AU Commission chairman, the country must pull together and lobby for the position.

Should he clinch the position, Raila would not only act as Kenya’s ambassador but would also help the country stamp her authority both in Africa and in the world arena.

Raila’s success will rely on strategic lobbying by President William Ruto and his ambassadors.

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