Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Nigeria’s former two-time finance minister, World Bank Group managing director and the country’s candidate for the headship of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) has advanced to the final stage in the selection process for the highly coveted position of director-general.
According to reports, Ngozi-Iweala, Nigerian economist and and Yoo Myung-hee, South Korean Minister for Trade made the final cut while Mohammed Al-Tuwaijiri of Saudi Arabia, Liam Fox of the United Kingdom and Amina Mohamed were unable to gain enough support in the second round of consultations leading to their elimination.
The final selection is an indication that the WTO will have its first female director-general since its establishment 25 years ago. Coincidentally, the European Union endorsed both candidates to clinch the top position.
The final phase of the consultation process to name a consensus winner will continue later in October and run until November 6,2020. Business A.M gathered that if the WTO members fail to produce a leader by consensus, a vote entailing a qualified majority could be held as a final resort.
It will be recalled that the vacancy for the WTO director-general position arose after Roberto Azevedo, the former leader tendered his resignation on August 31,2020, a year before his tenure was due to elapse.
Okonjo Iweala served as Nigeria’s finance minister under the administrations of Olusegun Obasanjo and Goodluck Jonathan. She also served as a development economist at the World Bank where she spearheaded several World Bank programmes and rose to become the managing director.
Yoo Myung-hee is the current minister for trade of South Korea. She is the first woman to hold the position. She has worked in various government agencies for more than 25 years and is considered a veteran in the Korean politics and trade circles.
David Walker, WTO General Council Chairman will formally announce the results to the institution’s delegates on Thursday, October 8,2020 in Geneva,Switzerland