Two African women have been shortlisted among the five candidates being considered to lead the World Trade Organization (WTO).
The WTO has never had a female leader in its 25 years of existence but that could change this year. In all, three women have advanced to the second round of selection to become the next director general of the WTO.
The Geneva-based body said the final five were chosen from a list of eight candidates.
The WTO is in the process of replacing its immediate past director general, Roberto Azevêdo, who stepped down earlier this year.
The two African women in the race are the Kenyan culture minister, Amina Mohamed, and the former Nigerian finance minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.
Huge task ahead
Azevêdo, a Brazilian diplomat, became director general of the WTO in 2013 and has served for the past seven years.
He was appointed to the role for his dedication, as many developing economies backed him to make policies that they hoped would favour them.
Aside from Mohamed and Okonjo-Iweala, the other contenders for the WTO leadership role are the South Korean trade minister, Yoo Myung-hee, Saudi Arabia’s Mohammad al-Tuwaijri and the former British ninister Liam Fox.
Mexico’s Jesús Seade, Egypt’s Hamid Mamdouh and Moldova’s Tudor Ulianovschi failed to make the final shortlist.
The five-person list will be cut down to just two when the WTO’s 164 members name their preferences.
Round two of the selection process takes place from 24 September to 6 October, and a new director general should be named by November.
Keith Rockwell, spokesman for the WTO, said the process was going well and that the body hopes to have a new leader as scheduled.
“The objective is to have this process completed within two months – it began on 7 September, so on or about 7 November – so we are on track for this. The process has gone smoothly,” he said.
E A Alanore