Three african candidates out of eight are in the race to lead the world trade Organization (WTO), the Bretton Woods institution in the throes of enormous challenges in a full global economic crisis. The information is of a size, because it is the first time since the organization's creation in 1995, the african continent can boast of weigh as much in a designation process for the position of an institution with global reach. He must know that Africa has never had a representative at the head of the WTO, and the mainland and hopes to have his chances, even if there is no rule of regional belonging.
In addition, the procedure of appointment of the head of the WTO is not an election, but a mechanism for consensus that works by a process of elimination. A vote is possible as a procedure of last resort, but it has never been used. Thus, in 1999, the country had not been able to reach agreement, and had elected the two directors by dividing the term by two years, of three years each.
Who is to succeed Roberto Azevedo ?
In all cases, all claim to the succession of the Brazilian Roberto Azevedo has announced to the general surprise, in mid-may that he would leave his functions at the end of August, a year before the end of his term, for " family reasons ", forcing the 164 members of the WTO to find him a successor in three months instead of nine. Among them was a Mexican, an Egyptian, a Nigerian, a Moldovan, a South Korean and a Kenyan Amina Mohamed, ex-senior un and ex-minister of foreign Affairs of his country, who has filed his case at the last moment in the night from Tuesday to Wednesday, 8 July. In its first six declared candidates, were added just before the limit required two other personalities : the former saudi minister of Economy and Planning Mohammed Al-Tuwaijri was launched in the race, as well as the former uk minister for Trade Liam Fox, supported by the british Prime minister, Boris Johnson.
From 15 to 17 July, the candidates will be heard by the WTO general Council, the supreme decision-making body of the organization, which brings together all members of the WTO. They will then be disposed of as and.
a resurgence of international tensions between the United States and China, the company promises to be dangerous this year. "If the process of the appointment of the next director-general is highly politicized, it could have a blocking effect," said a diplomatic source cited by AFP. The number of nominations africa may also weigh heavily on its chances of taking the helm of the WTO on the 1st of September next.
Normally, if everything had worked out as planned, we should have only one name for Africa, but the african Union has failed to reach a consensus around one of the three names she was given at the start. Meanwhile, there has been a veritable waltz of the applications.
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Africa wants to be at the maneuver of the WTO
It is in this context that the AU has submitted three names, among them the Egyptian Abdel-Hamid Mamdouh, 67, a former senior official of the WTO. "In the framework of the african Union, the african countries had decided in July 2019 as the next director general of the WTO should be an African. It is a strong feeling, " was analyzed in the AFP Suisso-Egyptian, first African to have declared his candidacy. "Africa has never held this position before, and it is time, because all the other regions have held this position," said the former diplomat, egyptian, installed in Switzerland for 35 years and who works for the us law firm King & Spalding in Geneva.
A line that has not followed the Nigeria, who also presented the candidacy of Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala (66 years old), a decision which is the subject of a legal dispute with the african Union. Despite this dispute, "the candidate of the Nigeria gains ground in Africa," said a diplomatic source.
Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala, former minister of Finance and foreign Affairs and president of the global Alliance for vaccines and immunization (Gavi), is also receive a " support enormous." "I am confident that the african Union will take a decision to choose and support the candidate who deserves it ", she told the media in Geneva during a videoconference at the end of June.
The former director of operations of the world Bank, which driver recently one of the programs of the world health Organization (WHO) in the fight against the Covid-19, does not capitalize on its origin or her status as a woman, though none has ever led the WTO. "I hope that the director-general of the WTO shall be elected primarily because of his merit. And if it is then of a woman or an African, it is also " well, she said.
Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala will be up against two other women, the minister of Trade of South Korea, Yoo Myung-hee (53 years) and the Sports minister of Kenya Amina Mohamed (58 years old), already a candidate in the face of Azevedo in 2013.
In a full global economic slump caused by the pandemic Covid-19, several-sized projects are waiting for the future boss of WTO : preparing the ministerial conference in 2021, provide a boost to the negotiations that are stalling, and especially to attempt to restart the dialogue at the bottom with the United States. Washington has threatened to quit the WTO, which he describes as " a mess ", and it paralyzes since December the court of appeal of the dispute settlement body (DSB) of the WTO.
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