Three women make it to the final five of WTO leadership race

Updated: Sep 20, 2020

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Amina Mohamed and Myung-hee are in the final five

Three women, two of them from Africa, have advanced to the second round to become the next director-general of the World Trade Organization.

The two Africans left in the race are Nigeria's Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and Kenya's Amina Mohamed.

They proceed to the second round with South Korean Trade Minister Yoo Myung-hee, Saudi Arabia's Mohammad Al-Tuwaijri and British ex-minister Liam Fox.  

Liam Fox, who is the former international trade secretary, has also reached the last five to be the next head of the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Boris Johnson tweeted his support, saying: “With a wealth of experience of institutional reform, and as a passionate advocate for international cooperation and free trade, the WTO would be in excellent hands under his leadership.”

The WTO sets the rules for global trade and adjudicates in trade disputes between nations. Fox, who was nominated by the British government for the post.

The new leader is expected to take office in November.

WTO regulators have faced cutbacks in funding by the US Trump administration, which has demanded it take a harder line against subsidised goods and services sold into the US from China, the EU and the UK.

Azevedo's successor will face a considerable challenge with rising global tensions and protectionism during the coronavirus pandemic, particularly between Beijing and President Donald Trump's administration and pressure to drive reform.

Round two voting will take place from 24 September to 6 October, where the WTO's 164 members will help whittle the candidates down to two.