Kenya's Amina Mohamed among favourites for WTO top job: report

Monday May 18 2020

Kenya’s Sports Minister Amina Mohamed has become one of the top picks to take over as the new Director General of the World Trade Organization, according to a UK newspaper. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP



Kenya’s Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed has become one of the top picks for the World Trade Organization's director general post, according to a UK report.

Ms Mohamed was nominated in 2013 but the post went to Mr Roberto Azevedo, who will be stepping down later this year.

Kenya’s Sports minister is believed to have the necessary experience for the post, having been the country’s former Ambassador to the WTO as well as chairing the WTO's 10th Ministerial Conference in Nairobi in 2015.

It was at this December conference that the “Nairobi Package”, a series of six ministerial decisions on agriculture, cotton and issues related to least-developed countries (LDCs), was adopted.

The London-based Observer newspaper said that Ms Mohamed had a good chance of getting the post this time.


“There is no chance of (US President Donald) Trump agreeing to the appointment of a Chinese candidate nor would President Xi Jinping allow an American,” the report said.

“Neither Washington nor Beijing would agree to either of the two Europeans whose names are being mentioned – Spanish Foreign Minister Arancha Gonzales Laya or former EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom. A Latin American is ruled out because Mr Azevedo is a Brazilian.

“The view in Geneva is that it is time a woman ran the WTO and the one to watch is Amina Mohamed, currently Kenya’s Sports minister but formerly the country’s much respected ambassador to the WTO.

“If the rest of the continent gets behind her she has a chance of becoming the first Africa to run the WTO. She would be a good choice.”

However, the task, if she gets it, will be formidable.

“Trying to achieve consensus among the WTO’s 164 members is a thankless task even at the best of times,” the report said. “The person lucky – or unlucky enough – to get the job will need a thick skin, the highest diplomatic skills and a personality that commands respect.”