The East African Community (EAC) has endorsed the candidature of Kenya's Amina Mohamed to head the World Trade Organisation, in the latest boost to her bid.
The endorsement was announced on Sunday just two days before the global trade regulator names the two contenders for the final round of the race.
Rwanda's Foreign Minister Vincent Biruta, who chairs the EAC Council of Ministers, said on Sunday Ms Mohamed had received support from member countries following a request by EAC chairman President Paul Kagame for her endorsement.
"Reference is made to the favourable responses received from all states of the East African Community on the…request to support the candidature of the Republic of Kenya of Director-General of the World Trade Organisation.
"I would like to inform you that the Ambassador Amina C Mohamed is endorsed as the candidature of the East African Community to the post of the Director-General of the World Health Organisation," Dr Biruta wrote to counterparts in Kenya, Burundi, Uganda, Tanzania and South Sudan.
Ms Mohamed is among five candidates who qualified for round two of the tests, whose results will be made known on October 6 with the announcement of the two finalists.
The other contenders are Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala of Nigeria, Ms Yoo Myung-hee of South Korea, Mr Mohammad Maziad Al-Tuwaijri of Saudi Arabia, and Dr Liam Fox of the United Kingdom.
The director-general of the WTO is appointed through consensus, meaning candidates have to do lots of horse-trading. Endorsements like the one by EAC can help a candidate amass that broad agreement among WTO member states.
The new director-general of the 164-member WTO will be announced by December this year.