Kenya‘s sports minister and former WTO General Council chair Amina Mohamed has joined the race to become the next head of the World Trade Organization.
Africa has now three candidates together with Amina Mohammed: former Nigerian foreign and finance minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and Egyptian former diplomat Hamid Mamdouh.
Mamdouh, 67, is the only contender from the continent with any express backing from the African Union.
The other contenders are Britain’s first post-Brexit international trade secretary Liam Fox, former Saudi economy minister Mohammed al-Tuwaijri , South Korean Trade Minister Yoo Myung-hee; Mexico’s former WTO deputy director-general Jesus Seade Kuri; and former Moldovan foreign minister Tudor Ulianovschi.
Among the eight candidates, three are women: Yoo Myung-hee (53), Amina Mohammed (58) et Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala (66).
Mrs. Mohamed who first ran for the post in 2013 is one of the favorites to replace outgoing director-general Roberto Azevedo.
She is the current President of the 14th United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.
President Uhuru Kenyatta has endorsed her saying she is uniquely qualified to lead the global organization.
“I have no doubt in my mind that her leadership at the WTO will, without doubt, be a game-changer, that will enable this important institution to meet the requirements of its Member States and to better address the evolving demands of the 21st Century, and this, led by a proven consensus-builder,” he said.
Rather than an election, the selection procedure relies on finding consensus, with candidates gradually being eliminated in turn.
The WTO General Council will meet from July 15-17 to hear their presentations and quiz them on their plans for the global trade body.
The Geneva-based organization was created in 1995 and has 164 members.