Outcomes of 14th UNCTAD Ministerial Conference

The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) is a subsidiary organ of the United Nations General Assembly, established in 1964 to promote trade, investment, and development in developing countries.

Headquartered in Geneva, UNCTAD has 194 member States as well as numerous intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations and other observers.

The quadrennial ministerial Conference is the highest decision-making body of UNCTAD.

The fourteenth session of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development took place in Nairobi, Kenya, from 17 to 22 July 2016.

UNCTAD-14 ended with the adoption of two documents. The two documents – Nairobi Maafikio and Nairobi Azimio – are aimed at ensuring fair trade between developing countries and developed nations as well as ensure action is taken on previous agreements.


The Nairobi Maafikiano, which has focussed on four main areas and how UNCTAD is supposed to help its members in moving towards an inclusive and equitable global economic environment for trade and development.

The first area will include the role of UNCTAD in dealing with challenges and opportunities in multilateralism for trade and development. For example, in the next four years, UNCTAD is supposed to continue its work on the impact of non-tariff measures on trade and development prospect of developing countries.

The Maafikiano document has also stated several roles UNCTAD is supposed to play in promoting inclusive and sustainable economic growth through trade, investment, finance and technology to achieve prosperity for all. This will be mainly aimed at eradicating poverty, job creation, technological upgrading, economic diversification and reduction of income inequality.

The third area of focus for UNCTAD in the next four years will be advancing economic structural transformation and cooperation to build economic resilience.

The fourth area of focus will be contributing to the effective implementation of, and follow-up to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and relevant outcomes from global conferences and summits as related to trade and development.


On the other hand the ‘Nairobi Azimio’ document is a political declaration representing a broad expression of the social and economic state of the world.

“We the member states of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development agree on the following declaration herein referred to as the ‘Nairobi Azimio’ that is firmly anchored in the heritage of achievements of UNCTAD since its creation in 1964,” the document reads.

Among others, the members commit to uphold the decisions taken at UNCTAD 14 as well as urge members states to fully implements the Nairobi Maafikiano, achieve gender equality and promotion of the youth.

The declaration has reiterated that each member country has a primary responsibility for its own economic and social development.

The conference was opened by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in the presence of President Uhuru Kenyatta and the vice-President of Uganda, Edward Kiwanuka Ssekandi, before running for five days in Nairobi from July 17 to 22.

More than 5,000 delegates from 149 countries attended.