On the 14th of May, 2020, the World Trade Organization’s Director General Roberto Azevêdo announced his resignation for reasons best known to him. For that reason, the organization opened nominations for candidates interested in the vacant position.
After the establishment of a new expedited nomination process, which closed on July 8, 2020, eight competitors turned in and are competing for the top seat. They include Abdel Hamid Mamdouh of Egypt, Amina Mohamed of Kenya, Mohammad Maziad Al-Tuwaijri, of Saudi Arabia, Yoo Myung-hee, of Korea, Liam Fox, of United Kingdom, Tudor Uli and some more.
Among these applicants, whoever secures the top position is probably going to represent a takeoff from tradition for the 125-year-old universal trade controller.
Among the competitors are three African up-and-comers which includes two women, and an aggregate of three women in the running, including South Korean Trade Minister Yoo Myung-hee, 53, who has driven the South Korean negotiation team on economic alliance with the U.S., Singapore and ASEAN.
Should the position go to a woman, that will be big stride for women around the globe.
58 year old Amina Mohamed, who is Kenya’s bureau secretary of sports, heritage and culture, is on her subsequent bid. She was beforehand the first female chairman of the WTO General Council and seat of the African Group on WTO’s Human Rights Commission. Her long involvement in the WTO and reports that she has the support of China and UK, make her a main competitor.
Nigeria’s Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, 66, is an development business analyst with 25 years of involvement with the World Bank (counting a post as Managing Director from 2007-2011).
She was the first female Nigerian Foreign Minister and was twice Finance Minister. Forbes positioned her among the world’s main 50 “Powerful Women” in 2015.
Hamid Mamdouh, a 67-year-old Swiss-Egyptian, has been a senior WTO official since 1990 and has a long vocation in trade negotiations.
Meanwhile, the former WTO boss, Roberto Carvalho de Azevêdo is a Brazilian career diplomat who was elected to succeed Pascal Lamy as Director-General of the World Trade Organization in May 2013.
He assumed office on 1 September 2013. His first diplomatic posting was to Washington in 1988. He subsequently served in the Brazilian embassy in Montevideo, Uruguay before being assigned to the Permanent Mission of Brazil in Geneva, Switzerland in 1997.
In 2001 Roberto Carvalho de Azevêdo was named head of the Brazilian Foreign Ministry’s Dispute Settlement Unit where he remained until 2005. During his tenure he acted as chief litigator in many disputes at the WTO and served on WTO dispute settlement panels.