WTO: Okonjo-Iweala still in contest for DG role as council cuts down candidates to two

Nigeria’s former Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, is still in the running for the role of Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), as the body’s General Council meets on Tuesday, to cut down five candidates left to two.

Others still in the competition include Saudi Arabia’s former minister of economy and planning, Mohammad Maziad Al-Tuwaijri; UK’s former secretary of state for international trade, Liam Fox; South Korea’s Trade Minister, Yoo Myung-hee; and Kenya’s former international trade minister, Amina Mohamed.

Mexico’s Jesus Seade, Egypt’s Hamid Mamdouh and Moldova’s Tudor Ulianovschi dropped out last month.

Next week, the five aspirants remaining in the race to replace Roberto Azevedo, who stepped down as the WTO director-general a year ahead of schedule, will be whittled down to just two after a second elimination round.

The contenders left are either current or former Ministers, something that WTO officials had previously said was an important characteristic for a future Director-General.


Okonjo-Iweala is believed to be a big favourite, as she is also a former Managing Director of the World Bank.

Also, there have been calls for an African to finally lead the WTO, which has counted three Director-Generals from Europe and one each from Oceania, Asia and South America since it was created in 1995.

The WTO’s goal is to name a new leader by November 7, 2020.