Two African Women Left In WTO Leadership Race

The race to lead the World Trade Organization (WTO) is now among five countries after candidates from Egypt, Mexico and Moldova were knocked out this week.

The two Africans left in the race are Nigeria’s Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and Kenya’s Amina Mohamed.

The initial pool of eight candidates to replace Roberto Azevedo, who stepped down as WTO chief last month a year ahead of schedule, was whittled down to five Friday.

Women candidates Mohamed of Kenya, Okonjo-Iweala of Nigeria, and Yoo Myung-hee of South Korea remain, alongside two men: Liam Fox of Britain and Mohammed Al-Tuwaijri of Saudi Arabia.

Egypt nominee, Abdel-Hamid Mamdouh, on Thursday revealed that he was out of the race.

The new leader is expected to take office in November.

The WTO sets the rules for global trade and adjudicates in trade disputes between nations. It is also, according to its website, supposed to “open trade for the benefit of all”.

Reports said African diplomats want someone from the continent to be at the helm of one of the world’s top economic institutions.

Eight candidates were running for the position of the WTO director-general. According to the WTO, from 15 to 17 July, all the candidates met with WTO members at a special General Council meeting, at which they had the opportunity to present their views and take questions from the membership.

The second phase of the process in which the candidates “make themselves known to members” ended on 7 September.

The WTO announced on Friday the five candidates – Nigeria, Egypt, South Korea, the UK and Saudi Arabia – that will go on to a second round of voting among members to choose the next director-general of the global trade body.


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