Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala 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.
In a statement on Friday, the WTO said member countries showed a preference for five out of the eight candidates who expressed interest in the position.
The other candidates in the race are Yoo Myung-hee of the Republic of Korea, Amina C. Mohamed of Kenya, 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 another 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.”
During the candidates’ presentation stage, Egypt had kicked against Okonjo-Iweala’s nomination.
President Muhammadu Buhari approved her candidature to replace Yonov Frederick Agah, Nigeria’s former candidate for the WTO DG position.
Egypt and the AU’s Office of Legal Counsel had opined that Okonjo-Iweala’s nomination violated the candidature guidelines provided by the AU.
However, the WTO told TheCable that the former World Bank managing director is eligible to run for the office.
Okonjo-Iweala, who currently chairs the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI) backed by the Bill Gates Foundation.