TRADE: Square-Off in Nairobi

Wielding his familiar giraffe-tail fly whisk, octogenarian Kenyan President Jomo Kenyatta, 85, this week will welcome more than 3,000 delegates from 152 countries to Nairobi's Kenyatta Conference Center—a building that looks like a 350-ft.-tall hair curler. The occasion: the quadrennial meeting of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), a group set up in 1964 primarily to give poor countries a forum in which to air their economic problems. In its three previous gatherings, UNCTAD has produced an elephantine mass of paper but little of substance. UNCTAD IV, which will meet for three weeks, had better achieve...

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