Kenya’s Amina Mohamed qualifies for next round in race to head WTO


The Kenyan candidate in the race for World Trade Organisation (WTO) Director-General post, qualified on Friday for the next round of tests after convincing member states of her capabilities.

WTO General Council Chair David Walker announced that Ms. Amina Mohamed and four other candidates will stay in the race after they secured “the broadest and deepest support from the WTO membership.”

After a two-week consultation between envoys of the 164-member WTO, the global trade referring body retained Ms Mohamed, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala of Nigeria, Ms Yoo Myung-hee of South Korea, Mr Mohammad Maziad Al-Tuwaijri of Saudi Arabia and Dr Liam Fox of the United Kingdom.

The four will compete in the next round that starts on September 24 and will end on October 6. After this round, only two candidates will move to the final stage.

“Members consider all 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,” Walker told envoys of member states in Geneva, Switzerland on Friday.

Dr Jesús Seade Kuri of Mexico, Mr Abdel-Hamid Mamdouh of Egypt and Mr Tudor Ulianovschi of Moldova were dropped from the race for receiving the least indications of support from member states.

Ms Mohamed had contested against Mr Azevêdo in 2013 but lost on a decision made by consensus among member states.

The director-general of the WTO is appointed through consensus, meaning candidates will have to do lots of horse-trading ahead of the decision on August 31.

The WTO, formed in 1995 is a rule-making body that guides international trade and tries to resolves disputes. It is based in Geneva, Switzerland and decisions on cases brought before it are often final, even though it is not a UN organisation.