Former Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Nigeria’s candidate for the World Trade Organization’s director-general has been selected as one of the two final candidates for the position.
WTO members selected two final candidates, Okonjo-Iweala and South Korea’s Yoo Myung-hee, to advance to the final round in the race to lead the Geneva-based trade body, Bloomberg reported on Wednesday.
By advancing two women to the final round of the selection process, the WTO is set to have the first female director-general in its 25-year history.
Okonjo-Iweala served two stints as Nigeria’s finance minister and one term as foreign affairs minister.
She has experience working at international governance bodies as a former managing director of the World Bank, and as a chairman at the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization.
Myung-hee is South Korea’s trade minister.
During her 25-year career in government, she helped to expand her country’s trade network through bilateral accords with the United States, China and the United Kingdom.
WTO General Council Chairman, David Walker planned to formally announce the results to the institution’s delegates on Thursday morning in Geneva.
“They’re both very well qualified, it is going to be a fight,” said William Reinsch, a trade official in the Clinton administration and senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
He added that the top challenge would be “restoring the organisation to full strength and viability and restoring its reputation.
“You need members to have confidence that the WTO is capable of solving problems.
“I think right now that confidence is eroded.”