NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 23 – Ambassador Amina Mohamed may have missed the opportunity to become the first woman and indeed first African to head the World Trade Organisation (WTO) recently, but she now has an opportunity to add a feather in her hat with the nomination to become Kenya’s next Foreign Secretary.
Mohamed, who currently works as the Assistant Secretary General and Deputy Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), was picked to spearhead Uhuru Kenyatta’s foreign policy on Tuesday.
She is a seasoned diplomat with an equally vast career in the public sector having worked as the Permanent Secretary for Justice and Constitutional Affairs before assuming her current position.
The soft spoken mother of two is a career public servant whose record spans over 26 years and has also worked in the ministries of Local Government and Foreign Affairs.
While accepting her nomination at State House on Tuesday, Mohamed said she would discharge her new duties diligently if her nomination is approved by the National Assembly.
“I am humbled and I feel privileged and uniquely honoured and I will be waiting for your instructions on what I should be doing next,” she told the Head of State Uhuru Kenyatta and his Deputy William Ruto.
The accomplished lawyer had set her eyes on the top position at the WTO but failed to garner enough support from fellow members and dropped out of the race in the first round of cuts.
Mohamed had the government’s backing which argued that she had impressive credentials, wide knowledge in multilateral diplomacy and was an experienced negotiator.
“It is noteworthy that neither the General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs nor WTO has ever been headed by an African nor by a woman and for this reason, Amb Mohamed stands a strong chance of being the first ever in both respects,” observed Foreign Affairs Communication Officer Anthony Munyao last month.
Mohamed is a law graduate from the University of Kiev in Ukraine and the Kenya School of Law.
She rose through the ranks in Kenya’s diplomatic service from a legal advisor at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to the highest level of Ambassador/Permanent Representative at the Kenya Mission to the United Nations in Geneva.
Mohammed also chaired the General Council of the WTO in 2005, and presided over the selection process of the incumbent (Pascal Lamy) for his first term.
“My vision of the organisation shall revolve around the imperative of an updated agenda for trade negotiations which is relevant to contemporary challenges in the global economy and the expansion of stakeholders to ensure the relevance of WTO,” she said while campaigning for the WTO seat.
On January 29 2013, Mohamed and eight other candidates vying for the position made their presentations before the General Council of the WTO.