WTO DG: Okonjo-Iweala and Four Others Emerge As Final Candidates


After the World Trade Organization dropped three candidates from the race to be the next Director-General of the body, Nigeria’s Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is still very much in the race. The World Trade Organization stated that Mexico’s Jesus Seade, Egypt’s Hamid Mamdouh, and Moldova’s Tudor Ulianovschi didn’t secure enough support in a first of three rounds of voting.

“Their expertise and high professional and personal qualities are highly valued and respected by all members,” WTO General Council Chairman, David Walker, said in a statement. The Organization also plans to reduce the contestants to two final candidates in the coming weeks.

The remaining contenders were all current or former ministers, something that trade officials had previously said was an important characteristic for a future Director-General.

They are Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Nigeria’s former finance minister, Mohammad Maziad Al-Tuwaijri, Saudi Arabia’s former minister of economy and planning; Liam Fox, the UK’s former secretary of state for international trade; Yoo Myung-hee, South Korea’s trade minister and Amina Chawahir Mohamed Jibril, Kenya’s former international trade minister.

The second phase of consultations would begin on September 24 and run until October 6 after which the WTO would announce two final candidates who would continue in the race till November 7 when a new leader will be announced. The vacancy was opened when the former Director-General, Roberto Azevedo, decided to step down at the end of August, a year before his term was due to end.

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