| | News

WTO to appoint first female boss as two left in the leadership race

Photo: Keystone/Salvatore Di Nolfi

Nigeria’s Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and Yoo Myung-hee of the Republic of Korea are the last two candidates in the race to become the next leader of the World Trade Organisation.

The WTO revealed the names on Thursday after member countries trimmed their final list from five to just the two candidates, and in doing so ensuring that the next director-general will be the first woman at the helm the organisation.

The three candidates who did not make it through are the UK’s candidate Liam Fox, Amina C. Mohamed of Kenya and Mohammed Maziad Al-Tuwaijri from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

The winner will replace Roberto Azavedo, who stepped down at the end of August a year earlier than planned and has since joined PepsiCo. The third phase of consultations will kick off on 19 October, with the organization hoping to come to a decision by the end of the month.

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala: Nigeria’s former finance and trade minister is an economist and international development expert now serving as chair of the board of GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance. She also spent much of her adult life in the United States, after attending Harvard University in the 1970s. She had a career spanning 25 years at the World Bank, becoming managing director in 2007. Okonjo-Iweala said she’s “a firm believer in the power of trade to lift developing countries out of poverty and assist them to achieve robust economist growth”.

Yoo Myung-hee: The first female trade minister for the Republic of Korea, Yoo has a career spanning 25 years in trade and multilateral relations. In 1995, she took charge of WTO affairs in the Korean Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy. More recently, she acted as Korea’s key Free Trade Agreement (FTA) strategist, acting on initiatives including the Korea-U.S FTA renegotiation. She has also lived in the U.S. after attending Vanderbilt University Law School. She was admitted to the New York State Bar in 2003.

Related articles