16 April 2004

Third Regional Trade Policy Course in Nairobi, Kenya, starts

Twenty-four government officials from 22 African countries attended on Wednesday 14 April the opening ceremony for the Third Regional Trade Policy Course, organized by the WTO Secretariat in partnership with the University of Nairobi. The course, held in Nairobi, Kenya, started on 13 April and will end on 2 July 2004.

The ceremony was attended by Hon. Dr. Mukhisa Kituyi, MP and Minister for Trade and Industry of Kenya, as well as by representatives from the University of Nairobi. Mr. Paul Rolian, Director of the WTO Institute for Training and Technical Cooperation, was also present at this occasion.

The overall objective of the course is to widen participants' understanding of trade policy matters, the multilateral trading system, international trade law and the functioning of the WTO. It is expected that the knowledge acquired during these courses will allow participants to contribute to the promotion of a more active participation of their countries in the work of the WTO. Throughout the three-month training, officials will become acquainted, through lectures, debates, and simulation exercises, with virtually all the issues dealt with in the framework of the WTO. One of the main features of the regional trade policy course is that all topics are presented by both WTO staff and regional resource persons from regional academic institutions and think-tanks. For the third edition of the course, a core group of regional resource persons is already well in place and will be addressing the regional concerns and issues with the participants.

At the opening ceremony, Minister Kituyi underlined that in terms of institutional capacity building, the University of Nairobi is in the process of integrating and mainstreaming into its academic curriculum the multilateral trading system issues enabling the University to offer post-graduate diploma and degree courses in the near future. This will not only benefit Kenya but the entire region. Minister Kituyi welcomed the initiative of having all regional resource persons participating in a meeting held in Geneva prior to the course to equip them with the latest developments on the WTO front.

Both Minister Kituyi and Mr. Paul Rolian urged the participants to make the most of this unique opportunity to sharpen their skills and to contribute to the overall economic developments of the continent.