Diverse candidates make WTO leadership election inclusive

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
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WTO Elections
Saudi Arabia's former Minister of Economy Mohammad Maziad Al Tuwaijri is one among eight candidates who have been nominated for the WTO Director General position.

When the dust settles in early November the World Trade Organization (WTO) will have a new leader to replace its out-going Director-General Roberto Azevedo from Brazil.  The entire process is much more diverse this time with three women representations, two of them from Africa.

The global intergovernmental international trade organization confirmed that five from the earlier pool of eight will now go through the next round deliberations to be chosen as the next leader of the 25-year-old trade body.

Former Nigerian Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Saudi Arabia’s Mohammad Al-Tuwaijri, South Korean Trade Minister Yoo Myung-hee, Kenyan minister Amina Mohamed,  and British ex-minister Liam Fox made into the next phase of the selection.

Egypt’s Hamid Mamdouh, Mexico’s Jesus Seade, and Moldovan Tudor Ulianovschi were those who were eliminated from the process.

WTO has never had a female representation governing at the top spot, a position which has not also seen any African chair it.

WTO’s 164 members will not vote for their preferred candidate between September 24 to October 6 to bring down the final candidate list to just two. The organization expects to have a winner to the top position by early November but it could be a hard task due to the U.S. presidential elections scheduled to happen on November 3rd.

Yet, the global organization remains upbeat about the prospects of having a leader within the anticipated timeframe as it said that the process had gone well so far and that all members had taken part.

WTO spokesman Keith Rockwell remarked that “The objective is to have this process completed within 2 months – it began on 7 September so on or about 7 November, so we are on track for this. The process has gone smoothly.”