NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 9 – Kenya will now support Nigeria’s Ngozi Okonji-Iweala in the final round for the World Trade Organisation Director General post following Sports Cabinet Secretary and former foreign secretary Amina Mohamed’s defeat in the secomd round vote.
The Foreign Office, in a statement issued Thursday evening, said it was disappointed that Amina who secured regional support did not proceed to the next round of voting.
Iweala will battle with South Korea’s Yoo Myung-hee who were selected out of a pool of five in the final race to become the next director-general.
Okonjo-Iweala has served as Nigeria’s Finance minister and Foreign Affairs minister, while Yoo is South Korea’s Trade minister.
“Thanks, WTO members for your continued support of my candidacy. I could not have made it without the prayers and support of all Nigerians and friends around the world.. Aluta continua!” Iweala said shortly after being selected.
Amina was eliminated by WTO General Council alongside a former Saudi economy minister, Mohammad Maziad Al-Tuwaijri, and UK’s former International Trade Secretary Liam Fox.
In its statement on Thursday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs conceded that the process had to move on without Amina even as it insisted she was the most qualified candidate to steer WTO.
“Kenya expresses deep gratitude to all WTO Members for according Ambassador Amina Mohamed the utmost support throughout her campaign. The courtesies and valuable time availed to her, to meet all delegations and leaders, either in person or virtually; bilaterally or in the regional groupings, are most appreciated,” the statement read in part.
The Ministry urged WTO membership to stick to a consensus to have an African candicate selected to hold the coveted job even as it urged the international community to support the continent.
“Kenya therefore throws its firm, unwavering support behind Ngozi Iweala of Nigeria, wishes her the best and expects the international community to abide by this important promise, as the two candidates proceed to the final round,” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.