TMA to lead in discussions at Trade and Development Symposium (TDS)

What is the future of the WTO? Will the Doha Round survive? How can trade help develop the world’s poorest nations? Why does Africa import 83% of its food?
These are some of the big issues to be explored at the Trade and Development Symposium (TDS) in Nairobi, Kenya, 14th to 17th December. TDS will run in parallel with the WTO’s 10th Ministerial Conference and offers a unique and vital platform for wider discussions that wouldn’t be possible in the confines of the WTO negotiations. TMA is a strategic partner for TDS and will host and lead in a number of discussions related to trade. With more than 1500 participants, TDS 2015 will be the biggest ever gathering of trade experts in the world.

ICTSD fellow Amb. Darlington Mwape addresses the press in Nairobi. “There have been benefits for Africa and Least Developed Countries in the lifespan of WTO. For example the OSBP made possible by WTO.”
ICTSD fellow Amb. Darlington Mwape addresses the press in Nairobi. “There have been benefits for Africa and Least Developed Countries in the lifespan of WTO. For example the OSBP made possible by WTO.”

They will be joined by WTO trade ministers and their delegations, representatives from the private sector, NGOs, the United Nations, the World Economic Forum, the International Trade Centre, the World Bank, senior academics, think-tanks and thought leaders. In addition to TMA experts other, Notable names that will talk trade at TDS include: Akinwunmi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank Ambassador Amina Mohamed, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Kenya Roberto Azevêdo, Director General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Dr. Richard Sezibera, Secretary General of the East African Community (EAC) Ricardo Meléndez-Ortiz, Chief Executive, International Centre for Trade & Sustainable Development (ICTSD) Richard Samans, Managing Director, World Economic Forum (WEF) Arancha Gonzalaz, Executive Director, International Trade Centre (ITC) H.E. Fatima Haram Acyl, Commissioner for Trade and Industry, African Union Commission For the first time, trade growth—the engine of GDP growth—is slowing down. The world’s nations—both rich and poor—must find new ways to trade together.
The TDS will help craft these new solutions and chart new ways forward. As ICTSD’s Ricardo Meléndez-Ortiz puts it: “This is a watershed moment for global trade. Some of the brightest trade policy thought leaders are suggesting innovative new approaches to overcome current blockages. TDS will offer the world a first glimpse at these policy options.” A variety of related issues will be discussed. The position of the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) in the global trade arena needs to be clearly defined, food security achieved and trade’s contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals explored. At the TDS, experts and delegates are able to forge fresh solutions to evolving trade challenges in an open environment, outside the formal negotiating setting. Amina Mohammed, Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade says TDS is “ … the perfect setting for lively debate and discussion on the most important topics on the global trade and sustainable development agenda.”
Nairobi’s hosting of the 10th Ministerial will make history since this is will be the first time the WTO will hold its biennial meeting – the premier platform for WTO policy-making – on African soil. But what’s in it for Africa and Kenya? The consensus is that advancing trade and trade policy in Africa could supercharge economies and lift millions of people out of poverty. Trade deliberations may be complicated but the results can have a simple and profound impact across Africa. TDS brings together some of the world’s deepest thinkers on African trade such as Ambassador Darlington Mwape, former Permanent Representative of Zambia to the WTO and current ICTSD Senior Fellow who says: “By 2035 there will be about 330 million youths entering Africa’s labor market. They’ll need jobs. Agriculture is key to providing employment but we need to figure out ways to improve access to markets both within Africa and beyond. New frontiers like digital technology also offer vast opportunities for entrepreneurship and employment but that can only be harnessed if the multilateral trading system is improved. These are just two of the many important issues we’ll be tackling at TDS.”
These sentiments are shared by another strong advocate for trade and development, Frank Matsaert, CEO of Trademark East Africa (TMA), a leading regional trade facilitator and ICTSD’s event partner for TDS. “TDS is being held at an opportune time when there is tremendous prospects for growth in East Africa with intra-EAC trade growing from $2.6 billion in 2004 to $8.6 billion in 2014. However these prospects are not being fully realised by Small and Medium-sized Enterprises that are the lifeblood of Africa’s economies due to bottlenecks in trade. TradeMark Africa has been at the forefront in helping to unlock this potential, from adopting innovative new solutions such as technology that tracks cargo and helps revenue authorities to increase collections and reduce clearing times, to running capacity building exercises for women traders. Carefully planned and monitored interventions like these are tackling not just the symptoms but the root cause of poverty by helping countries in the region to develop sustainable channels of growth. TMA looks forward to discussing these solutions at the TDS.”
The Trade and Development Symposium
Where: The Hilton Hotel, Nairobi, Kenya. The Hilton is 500-yards from the where the WTO meets at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre
When: 14th to 17th December 2015
Media are invited to the opening of TDS on Monday 15th December
Opening Media Brunch and Press Conference: TDS Media Lounge, Hilton Hotel
1245hrs Opening launch: Plenary Room, Hilton Hotel
If you haven’t already, we encourage you to register for TDS at

Source: TradeMark Africa (TMA)


TradeMark Africa (TMA) is an aid-for-trade organisation that was established with the aim of growing prosperity in East Africa through increased trade. TradeMark Africa (TMA) operates on a not-for-profit basis and is funded by the development agencies of the following countries: Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, UK, and USA. TradeMark Africa (TMA) works closely with East African Community (EAC) institutions, national governments, the private sector and civil society organisations.