Okonjo-Iweala makes shortlist of 5 for WTO top job
The pool has been reduced to five and will further be reduced to two, as the WTO searches for a consensus candidate.
Okonjo-Iweala is on a shortlist of five candidates (from eight candidates) who will now be considered for the next stage, as the WTO searches for the consensus candidate to replace Brazilian Roberto Azevêdo.
Azevedo informed WTO members on May 14 that he would be stepping down from his post, one year before the expiry of his mandate. He subsequently left office on August 31.
The five candidates who will advance to the next selection process are: Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala of Nigeria, Yoo Myung-hee of the Republic of Korea, Amina C. Mohamed of Kenya, Mohammad Maziad Al-Tuwaijri of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Liam Fox of the United Kingdom.
“Members consider all (the candidates) highly qualified and respected individuals. I would also like to pay tribute to the dignified manner in which they, their delegations, and their governments have conducted themselves in this process.
"Their willingness to engage, especially at these challenging times, has been greatly appreciated, and the organisation is in their debt,” said General Council Chair, David Walker of New Zealand.
The second phase of consultations will begin on September 24 and run until October 6.
During this period, members will be asked in confidence to express two preferences to the facilitators. Afterwards, the pool of five candidates will be narrowed to two.
The ultimate objective of the WTO is to arrive at the next DG by consensus.
President Muhammadu Buhari nominated Okonjo-Iweala, 66, for the position on June 5, 2020.
The new boss of the WTO will be tasked with overseeing much needed reforms, steer the trading world through a post-COVID recession, clinch multilateral deals, manage rising protectionism and navigate the trade war between China and the United States.
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