Kenyan cuisine fails to impress WTO delegates

Some of the delegates attending the World Trade Organization (WTO) conference at KICC, Nairobi. (Photo: Pius Cheruiyot)

Hundreds of delegates attending the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Ministerial Conference have not had food of their choice since they arrived in the country.

Many of those interviewed said the only food they have had access to was snacks and beverages being served at the venue, Kenyatta International Conventional Centre's cafeterias, which are struggling to serve the many people.

Outside, a cluster of white tents had been set up by entrepreneurs in the hotel industry who were keen to cash in on the many guests within the facility.

Kaberi Maitraya, a Bangladeshi national and a TV journalist said she and her colleagues have been struggling to find the right food to eat ever since they jetted into the city.

"We are getting problems in accessing food facilities. There is only one cafeteria providing snacks and beverages for the delegates and journalists. But Kenya is a wonderful country," said Maitraya, with a smile.

Proffessor Gunesh Himgimire, an Indian National says that KICC has excellent venue for the global conference but food facilities are inadequate.

Gunesh who has covered WTO event for several years felt that not much thought was put on how the delegates would access food once they get inside the conference center.

As an international journalist, he added that access to Ministerial and Plenary sessions has been a challenge.

“The arrangements for journalists working area was excellent but they can do more on giving us updates and statements from the plenary early enough because of time differences,” Gunesh said.

Nairobi residents have also been feeling the pressure of hosting such a high level international event.

The roads near KICC were closed and security officers who donned bright vests with the word "WTO" boldly printed on them were not letting anyone near the conference center.

The closure of the roads which is expected to go on until Friday saw the road stretching from Harambee Avenue, Parliament Road, City Hall way and Taifa road restricted for delegate's use only.

Business people around the area complained that the closing of roads has greatly affected their businesses.

Irene Juma, who has a shop along Harambee Avenue, said since the conference started, she has not had many customers coming to her shop.

"The security officers tell them to use a route which is longer and most of them opt to go to other shops instead," said Irene.