Africa's premier meeting venue

KICC History

History of The Kenyatta International Convention Centre

In the early 1960s Kenya emerged as the commercial and communication hub of East and Central Africa. The Kenya Government then saw the need of rolling out an ultra-modern conference facility to attract meetings regionally and internationally hence the birth of Kenyatta International Conference Centre.
KICC was designed by a Norwegian architect Karl Henrik Nostvik in 1967. The design structure combined the understanding of traditions, aspirations and environment of the people of Kenya with the needs of modern conference organizers in terms of space, administration and auxiliary services/requirements.

The facility was opened on the 11th September 1973 by the founding president of Kenya, HE Mzee Jomo Kenyatta. The same month saw KICC host its first International conference, the Annual Meetings of the Board of Governors of the World Bank Group and the IMF.
KICC became and has remained an icon and landmark for Nairobi and Kenya as well as a source of pride for Kenyans. Over the years, KICC has been managed as a department under various ministries until 1991 when the ruling party KANU took possession of it from the then Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife and turned it into its headquarters.

The facility was taken over by the Government of Kenya on 11th February 2003. For two years it was operated as a department under the Ministry of Tourism and Information. During that period, the Government established a task force to advise on how to manage the facility, which advised that the KICC be transformed into a state Corporation and therefore it was established on 5th July 2004


The Centre has played host to some landmark events that have contributed to the growth of the country. In 1972 before the Centre was officially opened, Kenya became the first developing country to host a UN headquarters meeting after intense diplomatic debate. UNEP, as it became to be known, had its first headquarters in the KICC.
A few years later in 1976, the Global Forest was launched, an area where dignitaries who visited Kenya planted a tree to mark their visit to Kenya. Dr. Mostafa Tolba, the then Deputy Executive Director of UNEP, planted the first tree at the Global Forest. Several world leaders and head of governments have since planted trees in the section.

When it started its operations 50 years ago, it became the venue for an international conference, the Annual Meetings of the Board of Governors of the World Bank Group and the IMF, one of the first largest international conferences to take place in Africa. Since then, Kenya has claimed its slot in the business tourism industry locally and internationally, which has seen it host other historical and high profile conferences and events including but not limited to; The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Executive council meeting, The AGOA Forum, E.U. African Business Conference, Joe Biden Public address to the nation when he visited Kenya in June 2010, 56th Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference,

World Trade Organization (WTO) 10th Ministerial conference, The 4th and 14th United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and The 6 Tokyo International Conferences on African Development (TICAD).

Other landmark conferences include the High Level Global Conference on Sustainable Blue economy, Magical Kenya Travel Expo and 9th African Caribbean Pacific Heads of States Summit.

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