UNCTAD Chief resigns to run for Kenya President

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Head of the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) has announced his resignation, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’s press office said Monday.

UNCTAD Secretary-General Mukhisa Kituyi informed Guterres that he would resign from his position with effect from Feb. 15, 2021, said Guterres’s press office in a note to correspondents.

“UNCTAD’s Secretary-General Mukhisa Kituyi informed (UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres) that he would resign from his position with effect from February 2021,” UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said.

UNCTAD is a Geneva-based subsidiary body of the UN General Assembly whose objective is to integrate developing nations in the global economy in order to promote their progress.

Kenyan Kituyi’s second term as secretary-general, which began in 2013, was due to end on August 31. His deputy, Belgium’s Isabelle Durant, will hold the role in the interim until a new secretary-general can be appointed for a four-year term, Dujarric said.

When asked why the early departure was necessary, Dujarric explained that Kituyi wanted to run for president during his country’s next election.

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“He has confirmed to the Secretary-General that he will not officially initiate his presidential campaign until after he separates from his service and responsibilities as an international civil servant with the United Nations,” Dujarric said.

UNCTAD had warned in December that up to 32 million more people could face extreme poverty due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The virus could wipe out years of painstaking progress for the least-developed nations, the organization said.