Sports Cabinet Secretary Ambassador Amina Mohammed is among five candidates who have advanced to the next stage in the race for the Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO).
Amina (pictured) made it out of a short list of eight nominees for the influential position left vacant following the departure of Roberto Azevedo in August.
Others who went past the first hurdle are Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala (Nigeria), Yoo Myung-hee (Republic of Korea), Mohammad Maziad Tuwajiri (Saudi Arabia) and Liam Fox (United Kingdom).
After weeks of intense lobbying during which the candidates shared their vision for the organisation with members, the five nominees attracted the broadest support, setting the stage for the next round of the process.
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Those that fell by the wayside were Jesus Seade Keri (Mexico), Abdel-Hamid Mamdouh (Egypt) and Tudor Ulianovschi (Moldova).
A statement on the WTO website quoting General Council chair, Ambassador David Walker of New Zealand stated:
“I would like to pay tribute to the manner in which they (candidates), their delegations, and their governments have conducted themselves in this process their expertise and high professional and personal qualities are highly valued and respected by all members.”
The WTO operates a global system of trade rules and it acts as a forum for negotiating trade agreements. It also settles trade disputes between its members and it supports the needs of developing countries.
In recent years, however, it has fallen into turmoil, as trade wars between China and the United States threaten the multilateral trading system.
In her speech, Amina promised to spearhead reforms, beginning with the re-opening of the appeal chamber that shut down last year.
The United States said it would not back a proposal to reconstitute the chamber.
The next stage of the process begin on Thursday next week, when the number of candidates will be cut to two.
Ambassador Walker said: “The second phase will run until 6 October ... with an eye to bringing the number of candidates from five to two.”
On her curriculum vitae posted on the WTO website, Amina describes herself as having ‘all the qualities and experience the WTO needs in a director general.
She has also cited her leadership of various WTO decision making organs.