WTO Election: There Is No AU Candidate Yet, Says Commission

The African Union (AU) is yet to agree on a consensus candidate for the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Director-General position.

In a statement made available  on Tuesday in Bern, the AU said:  “as at present there is no African- Union endorsed candidate for this post”.

It said that the AU Commission under the guidance of its ministerial committee had made concerted efforts towards the endorsement of a single candidate for the WTO Director-General post.

However, due to  circumstances beyond its control, the committee couldn’t meet on three scheduled dates – that’s way it’s yet to decide on a consensus candidate.

The statement, therefore has contradicted claims by the Egypt candidate Mr Abdel-Hamid Mamdouh who at a news conference in Geneva  said he had been endorsed by the Union.

In the same vein, the Nigerian Permanent Mission to the UN in Geneva has also reacted to Mamdouh’s claims.

In a letter to the WTO, the Mission  said that the process of deciding and endorsing a single candidate for the Director General post was still ongoing.

“ This has put to rest claims that the a particular candidate has been endorsed by the AU , therefore rendering other African candidates illegitimate “

Nigeria’s former Finance Minister Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, alongside Mrs Amina Mohamed of Kenya and Egypt’s Abdel-Hamid Mamdouh are the three candidate vying for the WTO top job from Africa.

Other candidates are from the UK, Saudi Arabia, Moldova and Mexico.

The candidates had made individual presentations to the WTO Council which held from July 15th to 17th  at the kickoff of the selection process.

The second phase of the selection process, in which candidates would make themselves known to members  will end on Sept. 7, Similarly, the third phase which is the consultation process would commence same day.

At the forthcoming consultation, Chairman of the General Council alongside Chairs of the Dispute Settlement Body and the Trade Policy Review Body   would consult with all the WTO members to determine which candidate is best placed to attract a consensus support.