Okonjo-Iweala makes presentation to WTO council as selection process begins


The World Trade Organisation (WTO) on Wednesday in Geneva, Switzerland began the second phase of the selection process for the position of Director-General.

Nigeria former Foreign and Finance Minister Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala who has been tipped for the top job by Nigeria, made a presentation to the WTO General Council.


She also answered questions from members in a closed-door session.
From July 15 to 17, candidates vying for the position will face the panel.

Council Chairman alongside Chairs of the Dispute Settlement Body and the Trade Policy Review Body will later consult with all WTO members.

They will determine which candidate is best placed to attract consensus support.
The post which has never been held by an African or by a woman currently has three women and three Africans among the contenders.

The candidates vying for the top job are:

Mohammad Maziad Al-Tuwaijri, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

He is currently a minister advising the royal court on international and local economic strategic matters in Saudi Arabia. Prior to becoming a minister, he worked in banking.

Liam Fox, United Kingdom

Fox is a former U.K. secretary of state for international trade and currently a lawmaker at the U.K. Parliament. He supports updating and reforming the WTO.

Jesus Seade Kuri, Mexico

An economist who has been working for the Mexican foreign affairs ministry since 2018, Kuri was the country’s chief negotiator for the U.S., Mexico and Canada Trade Agreement, known as USMCA.

Abdel-Hamid Mamdouh, Egypt

Mamdouh has been working as a consultant since 2017, but had previously worked at the WTO. He was director of the trade in services and investment division of the institution between 2001 and 2017.

Amina C. Mohamed, Kenya

Mohamed served as Kenya’s foreign affairs and international trade minister between 2013 and 2018. In this role, she chaired the 2015 WTO ministerial conference in Nairobi — the first African to lead the highest WTO forum.

Yoo Myung-hee, Republic of Korea

Minister for trade for Korea, Myung-hee was the first female to have the job and has held different positions that cover the same area. Back in 1995, she was in charge of WTO affairs at the Korean trade ministry.

Tudor Ulianovschi, Moldova

Ulianovschi served as Moldova’s minister of foreign affairs between 2018 and 2019, and has been a diplomat for 15 years.

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Nigeria

Nigeria’s candidate is a global finance expert, who has served as the country’s finance minister on two occasions. Okonjo-Iweala has been named one of the “eight female anti-corruption fighters who inspire” in 2019 by Transparency International, and in 2014 Time magazine said she was among the 100 most influential people in the world.

After her presentation today, Ngozi Okonjo Iweala took to her Twitter handle to show appreciation to all those who have shown her support. She writes,

  • “My sincere thanks and gratitude to HE
    @MBuhari, to Chief of Staff, to
    @HouseNGR, to Hon
    @ndudi04 to
    Min of Foreign Affairs & his team, to
    & Minister of State Trade & their team, to
    team & all Nigerians for their prayers and support

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