The 25-year-old, Geneva-based World Trade Organization (WTO) has never had a female leader, but with Kenyan Foreign Minister Amina Mohamed, former Nigerian Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, and South Korean Trade Minister Yoo Myung-hee among the top five candidates to fill the top spot of Director General, that soon may change.
Amjambo Africa reported that eight candidates were under consideration at the beginning of the process. On September 15, the WTO announced that only five would move to the second round, from which two would be selected to reach the third round. The new Director General will be replacing Roberto Azevedo from Brazil, who resigned his position one year before the end of his tenure.
The other three candidates who moved to the second round are South Korean Trade Minister Yoo Myung-hee, former British Minister Liam Fox, and Mohammad al-Tuwaijri of Saudi Arabia. Two previous candidates who are no longer under consideration are Mexico’s Jesus Seade, Egypt’s Hamid Mamdouh, and Moldova’s Tudor Ulianovschi, according to Reuters.
The new Director General will face enormous challenges, including the trade war between Beijing and the U.S., as well as the economic slowdown due to the COVID-19 crisis. The 164 member countries will vote for their preferred candidate between September 24 and October 6. By early November, the new leader will be known, unless the U.S. election impacts the planning, as some fear.