Why Oxfam International is relocating its headquarters to Nairobi

As a result, tens of Kenyans are likely to benefit from the many job opportunities that will spring up.

Oxfam International has announced it is relocating its headquarters from Oxford in the United Kingdom to Nairobi, Kenya.

Oxfam is an international confederation of charitable organization focused on the alleviation of global poverty which was founded in 1942, as the Oxford Committee for Famine Relief by a group of Quakers, social activists and Oxford academics.

Oxfam International, Executive Director Winnie Byanyima, spoke to BBC and shed light on the thinking behind the move.

“We are moving the headquarters to Kenya, increasingly people in the developing countries they are not really looking for the kind of support that we used to give in the past that were mainly in terms of delivering services to them.” She said.

Kenya has over the years cuts a niche for itself in the continent as an attractive destination for international corporations due to its largely friendly policies and developed infrastructure and services.

Nairobi appeared on the Fortune 500 list with Dubai, Johannesburg, Casablanca, Lagos and Cairo, as one of the highly coveted investment destinations in the world, according to Infomineo latest report.

It is currently home to some of the biggest international corporations like the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) and World Bank

“But they want us to stand with them in pulling together the knowledge they need, the evidence they need, they need our global power to be able to hold their leaders accountable to them” she added.

However, Kenya through the Jubilee administration has in recent years tried to shut down NGO’s space, accusing them of being used by international organizations and individuals to disrupt the country.

Days after Kenya’s hotly contested presidential elections the state de-registered the African Centre for Open Governance (AfriCOG) and Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC) attracting widespread criticism before later reversing the decision.

The historic presidential petition ruling by Kenya’s supreme court on 1st September where Chief Justice, David Maraga nullified President Uhuru Kenyatta's win after finding the country’s electoral body, Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) did not adhere to the constitution while transmitting the results hence ruled the win, invalid, null and void, seems to have restored trust of investors and international bodies who now sees Kenya as an attractive country which respects the rule of law.

“So we need to be on the ground with them, so we are moving our headquarters to Nairobi”

Kenya also has one of the largest pools of learned population in Africa and that may also have served as an incentive.

“We are going there so that we are not 3000 miles away and writing reports about people whom we don’t share their daily struggles with.”

“We are hiring more people from the south to be in our leadership so decisions will be made not by only people from the north but also by people from the south.”  Ms.Byanyima said.

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