Global aid and development charity organisation Oxfam is in advanced talks with the government to move its headquarters from Oxford, UK, to Nairobi.
Oxfam International’s head of media Matt Grainger told the Sunday Nation that Nairobi was selected ahead of Ankara (Turkey) and Bangkok (Thailand).
“We investigated a number of cities in the south – for instance, Ankara and Bangkok – and we weighed up a number of pros and cons, and decided Nairobi offered us the best option,” Mr Grainger said.
The official announcement was expected to be made at the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (Unctad) conference that starts today, but Mr Grainger said talks are yet to be finalised.
“We don’t know when we’ll be ready to announce the move. We are in talks with the Kenyan administration because there is a lot of legal detail to sort out but hopefully it won’t be too long away, he said.
“I’m honestly not sure if it’ll be in time for the Unctad meeting. We are keen to have the detail sorted out but there’s no deadline on this. We all need to get it right first. Our staff will move gradually over time, probably from 2017 to 2019.”
Oxfam was founded in 1942 by Cecil Jackson-Cole, an English entrepreneur and humanitarian. It currently has 18 affiliates working in more than 90 countries. Oxfam International’s Executive Director is Winnie Byanyima, a former Ugandan MP.
The global charity organisation started work in Kenya in 1963. The Kenya country office is located at The Atrium, Chaka Road, in Nairobi.
The relocation of Oxfam will follow a similar move by ActionAid, which shifted its headquarters from London to Johannesburg, South Africa, in 2005.
Nairobi, Ankara and Bangkok were considered as Oxfam International as part of a wider objective to devolve power from the northern to the southern hemisphere.
“Basically, southern countries (developing countries) are growing ever more influential on international stages. Important decisions affecting millions of people are being made in cities that are entirely different from the centres of power of 50, 20, or even 10 years ago. Development is no longer predominately about transferring money from North to South,” Mr Grainger said.
He explained that even though extreme poverty – the number of people living from $1.25 (Sh125) a day – is on track to end by 2030, worsening climate change, resource scarcity and ballooning inequality in most every country could undermine that.
“Oxfam’s work is more now about supporting local people – everywhere – to hold political decision-makers and corporates to account, so they can exercise their rights to a fair share of the benefits of economic, political and social development,” Mr Grainger added.
Amnesty International, a global human rights organisation also headquartered in London could also follow in the footsteps of ActionAid and Oxfam International to relocate to Africa.
Source: Daily Nation’]