Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, a former Minister of Finance and Cooirdinating Minister of the Economy under former President Goodluck Jonathan, has been named among the five candidates that will proceed to the next stage in the race for the position of the Director- General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO). In a statement yesterday, the WTO said member countries showed a preference for five out of the eight candidates who expressed interest in the position. The other candidates still in the race are Amina Mohamed of Kenya, Yoo Myung-hee of the Republic of Korea, Mohammad Maziad Al-Tuwaijri of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Liam Fox of the United Kingdom.
Jesus Seade Kuri of Mexico, Tudor Ulianovschi of Moldova and Abdel- Hamid Mamdouh of Egypt were eliminated from the process. David Walker, the ambassador from New Zealand who is the general council chair for the selection committee, said the second phase of consultations will begin on September 24 and run until October 6. During this time, members will be asked in the confidential consultations to express two preferences to the facilitators thus reducing the number of candidates from five to two.
“Following this process, Amb. Walker will call anoth-er heads of delegations meeting at which the results will be announced to the WTO membership. The timetable for the third and final round of consultations will be announced at that time,” a statement by the WTO read. “The ultimate objective of this measured and clearly defined process is to secure a consensus decision by members on the next director-general.” President Muhammadu Buhari approved Okonjo- Iweala’s candidature to replace Yonov Frederick Agah, Nigeria’s former candidate for the WTO DG position.