Okonjo-Iweala Makes Top Two For WTO Top Job

Nigeria’s Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and South Korea’s Yoo Myung-hee are poised for a head-to-head battle for the Director-General position of the World Trade Organization.

The 25-year-old body will be run by a woman for the first time in its history.

On Thursday, the organization announced that Okonjo-Iweala and Myung -hee had made the final cut.

“From 24 September to 6 October, WTO members expressed preferences on five remaining candidates during consultations with Amb. Walker, Amb. Dacio Castillo of Honduras and Amb. Harald Aspelund of Iceland,” the trade body said in a statement Thursday.

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“Based on the depth and breadth of preferences articulated to the facilitators, Amb. Walker told a Heads of Delegation meeting on 8 October that the two candidates who secured the broadest and deepest support from the membership and who should subsequently advance to the final round are Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala of Nigeria and Yoo Myung-hee of the Republic of Korea.

“The result creates an historic precedent for the WTO in that it assures that the 7th Director-General will become the first woman to lead the organization. These two candidates were chosen from a field of five(*) that had advanced to the second round of consultations.”

The organization noted that as the members move to the final round of consultations, the ultimate objective of its “measured and clearly defined” selection process is to secure a consensus decision by members on the next Director-General.

“Our aim continues to be to encourage and facilitate the building of consensus among members, and to assist in moving from this final slate of two candidates to a decision on appointment. As this is the final round of the consultation process, it should bring us to the point where we can make a recommendation to the General Council concerning that decision,” Mr. Walker, chair of the selection committee, said.

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