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Will Kenya’s Amina Mohammed Become Africa’s First at WTO Leadership Helm?

CS Amina Mohammed

By Winnie Kabintie

Amb. Dr. Amina Mohamed, who is presently serving as the Sports Cabinet Secretary in the public service, has been touted as one of the front runners among six candidates in the race for the Director-General position at the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

According to Reuters, Kenya’s Amina Mohammed  is “one of the favourites alongside Nigeria’s Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala” in the race to the current replace the director general, Brazil’s Roberto Azevedo.

The other five cnaidates are: Yoo Myung-hee from South Korea; Jesus Seade Kuri from Mexico; Egypt’s Hamid Mamdouh; and Tudor Ulianovschi from Moldova.

The World Trade Organisation has never been led by an African and a woman for that matter and if Amina Mohammed or even Nigeria’s Ngozi clinches the role, it will be historic.

Amina Mohammed, who lost to the current WTO Diretor General in 2013,  has held key decision making positions in the WTO and has used her experience and good tract record to solidify her campaign.

Between 2000 and 2006, Mohamed worked as the Ambassador and Permanent Representative for the Kenya diplomatic mission in Geneva. She was also the Chairperson, Coordinator and Spokesperson for the African Group in the WTO‘s Human Rights Commission. In 2002, Mohamed acted as President of the Conference on Disarmament and was appointed the first female chairperson of the International Organization for Migration.

Kenya was at the time, the only African country included in the organization and Amina Mohamed accepted the candidacy on condition that the organization would open up to more African countries.

 Reform, Recovery, Renewal 

She has pegged her candidacy on bringing about what she calls ” much needed” reforms at the World Trade Organisation.

Let me start by setting out the three main themes of my vision for the WTO: Reform, Recovery, Renewal.
The WTO needs urgent reforms so it can once again play its full part as an engine of growth, development
and stability. Reform is all the more urgent because an effective WTO is needed to help create the conditions for a sustainable recovery from the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic. And looking further ahead, the WTO needs to renew its capacity to negotiate and to develop new trade rules and disciplines for the challenges of the very near future,” Amina Mohammed said during her presentation at the General Council Meeting last week.

Kenyans have thrown their weight behind Amina Mohammed, with the country that has had so many firsts, looking forward to make world history once again.

Viva Amina Mohammed, the Kenya Forum wishes you all the best.


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