The race for the position of the Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), rages on as Nigeria’s candidate, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has progressed to the final round.
According to Bloomberg, Dr. Okonjo-Iweala, together with South Korea’s Yoo Myung-hee are the only two female candidates left in the race to lead the Geneva-based global trade body.
Both Dr. Okonjo-Iweala and Yoo Myung-hee were selected from a list of five candidates. It will be recalled that the initial pool of eight candidates to replace Roberto Azevedo, who stepped down as WTO director-general in August – a year ahead of schedule, was narrowed down to five last month.
The WTO will likely have the first female director-general in its 25-year history as no woman has ever headed the global trade body.
Okonjo-Iweala and Yoo’s candidacies received a boost earlier this week when EU member states officially threw their weight behind them.
A third and final round of consultations will commence later this month and is slated to run until November 6, when the WTO aims to agree by consensus on the next director-general.
Okonjo-Iweala, 66, served as Nigeria’s first female finance and foreign minister and has a 25-year career behind her as a development economist at the World Bank, eventually becoming its number two.
She is also on the Twitter board of directors and is a special envoy for the World Health Organization’s COVID-19 fight.
Should she emerge triumphant from the final elimination round, she would not only be the first woman, but also the first African to lead the global trade body.
Conversely, Yoo, 53, is currently serving as her country’s first female trade minister, following a career in trade diplomacy and foreign affairs.