Kenya has nominated Ms. Amina C. Mohamed, the Cabinet Secretary for Sports for the post of World Trade Organization(WTO) Director-General. She hopes to succeed the current Director-General, Mr. Roberto Azevêdo, who has announced he will step down on 31 August 2020.
According to the timetable announced by the Chair of the General Council, David Walker, the nomination period closed on 8 July 2020.
“Owing to her outstanding credentials, I do again strongly believe that Amb. Mohamed will enjoy broad support from countries across the world, with our pledge as Kenya not only to support her but to continue working closely with all countries on the African continent and across the globe to build consensus and a truly meaningful multilateral trade platform that every single country can benefit from,”said President Uhuru Kenyatta.
Amb Amina is the current President of the 14th United Nations Conference on Trade and Development. She has had previous engagements with the WTO including being Chairperson of the Ministerial Conference, General Council, Dispute Settlement Body, and Trade Policy Review Body.
She is an advocate of the High Court of Kenya with an undergraduate and masters degree in law from Taras Shevchenko University in Ukraine. Amina also has a postgraduate diploma in international relations from Oxford University.
Other candidates bidding for this position includes Dr Jesús Seade Kuri (Mexico), Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala (Nigeria), Mr Abdel-Hamid Mamdouh (Egypt), Mr Tudor Ulianovschi (Moldova), Ms Yoo Myung-hee (South Korea), Mr Mohammad Maziad Al-Tuwaijri ( Saudi Arabia) and Dr Liam Fox (UK).
The 8 candidates, vying for the WTO top job, will seek to convince its 164 members they can steer the body through intensifying global trade tensions and rising protectionism.
With three of the six previous director-generals coming from Europe and the others from Thailand, Brazil and New Zealand, pressure has been building to choose a leader from Africa.
The continent has three candidates vying for the position. The WTO has never had a female Director-General. All eight are expected to present themselves to the general council of ambassadors next week before an unspecified period of campaigning.
The in-tray of WTO is full with the body set to resolve a series of disputes, including fishing subsidies, ahead of a biennial conference in 2021. It is also facing pressure to update global trading rules set 25 years ago.
The WTO promotes trade for the benefit of all countries. It is the only institution that provides a unique forum for trade negotiations and for the settlement of disputes among its Members. It is in fact the only platform for the integration of developing nations into the world economy.
Bidding for a new Director General at the WTO is taking place as US President Donald Trump’s administration prepares a draft executive order that would trigger a U.S. exit from the World Trade Organization’s Government Procurement Agreement, or GPA, if the pact isn’t reformed in line with American views.
The purpose of the GPA is to open government procurement markets to foreign competition and to help make public purchasing more transparent.
An American withdrawal would create chaos for foreign companies that bid for access to the U.S.A $837 billion public procurement market and complicate nascent trade talks Washington is planning with the U.K. and European Union.