United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) 195 member states have applauded its outgoing Secretary-General Dr Mukhisa Kituyi for his outstanding leadership of the organization for nearly eight years.
Kituyi who prepares to step down from the role on February 15, tendered his resignation as he focuses on his presidential ambitions.
Leading with praises and accolades was the Africa Group, thanking Kituyi for his stellar service and exemplary leadership.
“Under your stewardship, UNCTAD has remained true to the execution of its mandate, and continues to assist developing countries to better access and benefit from global trade and investment,” said the group’s coordinator, Athaliah Molokomme.
“This has been done by way of providing analysis and technical assistance, facilitating consensus-building to leverage on trade, investment, finance, and technology as instruments for attaining inclusive and sustainable development.”
The Asia-Pacific Group said Kituyi’s dynamic and admirable leadership had set the global discourse on inclusive economic development.
“His passionate advocacy and untiring efforts in creating conditions, opportunities and support mechanisms for developing countries to leverage trade, finance and technology for sustainable development are well acknowledged by the members of the Asia Pacific Group,” said Tahir Andrabi, the Pakistani ambassador, on behalf of the group
He said Dr. Kituyi would be remembered for helping bring the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) into fruition and for his contribution to the historic Nairobi Maafikiano outcome document of the UNCTAD14 conference.
“We can appreciate the fruit of your work in many of the cornerstones that you leave behind for posterity,” Nasir Andisha said on behalf of member countries of the Group of 77 and China.
The group hailed Kituyi as a champion of development, a fighter against inequality and poverty and a staunch supporter of the aspirations of the global south.
“Your approach is in line with our group’s conviction that development thinking is a diverse and complex political issue that needs to be owned locally and not a technocratic, one-size-fits-all matter dictated from the north,” Andisha, the ambassador of Afghanistan in Geneva said.
He said his engagement in cabinet briefings in several nations helped beneficiary countries to better understand the trade-offs and interdependence of various areas of development policy, thereby improving policymaking and people’s lives.
He also praised his tireless efforts that ensured the success of UNCTAD’s 14th quadrennial conference held in Kenya in 2016 and the solid foundation laid for the forthcoming 15th ministerial gathering to be held in Barbados in October.
The European Union (EU) also commended Kituyi for leading UNCTAD to continue supporting developing countries overcome enormous challenges, including the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.
“During these times, UNCTAD helped deliver on many important and shared objectives of the multilateral community, with concrete and highly visible value for developing countries,” Thomas Wagner said on behalf of the EU.
He added that UNCTAD’s numerous analyses on trade and investment, e-commerce, science and innovation, consumer protection and competition laws and policies, and gender, resulted in useful policy recommendations that were highly appreciated.
Member countries of the Group of Latin America and the Caribbean (GRULAC) also thanked Kituyi for his active engagement in the region.
Speaking on behalf of the group, the ambassador of Guatemala, Eduardo Sperisen, said Kituyi had visited more than 11 countries in the region and met with heads of state, ministers and other authorities to get first-hand information about their development needs and projects.
He had also invited two GRULAC leaders – former president of Ecuador, Rafael Correa, in 2014 and prime minister of Barbados, Mia Amor Mottley, in 2019 – to deliver UNCTAD’s premier Raúl Prebisch Lecture and share their views on global issues such as development, technology and innovation and education.
Member countries of the Eurasian Economic Union also hailed Kituyi’s leadership and UNCTAD’s support to developing nations as they battle the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Speaking on behalf of the group, Sergey Ivanov of Russia thanked Kituyi for his report to UNCTAD member states ahead of the forthcoming ministerial conference in Barbados, in which he set out a roadmap for inclusive recovery from the pandemic.
On his part, Dr Kituyi, UNCTAD’s seventh Secretary-General, thanked all the member states for their unrelenting support during his tenure and wished them the best for the future.