A former Nigerian Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has been named among the 5 candidates that emerged for the World Trade Organisation (WTO) leadership position.
In the first voting phase, 3 candidates were edged out of 8, leaving the rest for the next phase of the exercise.
The WTO announced on Friday that Egypt’s Hamid Mamdouh, Mexico’s Jesus Seade and Moldova’s Tudor Ulianovschi could not muster ample backing to qualify them for the next voting exercise much as their capacity and depth remained enviable.
“Their expertise and high professional and personal qualities are highly valued and respected by all members,” David Walker, WTO General Council Chairman, said.
With 2 more hurdles to scale in the quest for the international trade body director-general’s seat, Mrs Okonjo-Iweala joins Amina Chawair Mohamed Jibril (Kenya’s previous minister of trade), Liam Fox (UK’s erstwhile secretary of state for international trade), Yoo Myung-hee (South Korea’s trade minister) and Mohammad Maziad Al-Tuwariji (Saudi Arabia’s ex-minister of economy and planning) in the race for the top job.
It is probable that, beyond her vibrancy, breadth of experience and multilayered competence from holding leadership roles at major international organisations from the World Bank, UNESCO and Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation, she might be considered for the office on political correctness grounds.
There are 3 women contenders and no woman has ever led the WTO. No African has been the WTO’s chief in the 25-year history of the Geneva-based organisation also.
However, details emerged earlier in the year that Okonjo-Iweala did not get the nod of the African Union for the top position.
WTO announced Friday that the next consultation rounds have been timed to hold 24th September through 6th October, leading to selection of 2 candidates.
The decider will take place on 7th November, the organisation said.