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African Candidates Vie for Top Job at the World Trade Organisation

The race for the World Trade Organisation’s Director-General’s seat is once again testing the unity of African countries in fronting common candidates for international agencies. Of the eight nominees vying to replace Brazil’s Roberto Azevedo, who is stepping down as WTO director general a year early at the end of August, three are from Africa. Egypt has nominated Hamid Mamdouh, a former diplomat and ex-WTO official who helped draft an agreement on trade in services during the Uruguay Round of negotiations. Nigeria has picked former foreign and finance minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala while Kenya has proposed former WTO General Council chairwoman Amina Mohamed. Mohamed, Kenya’s sports and culture minister, ran unsuccessfully for the WTO director general post in 2013.  A trade expert from the Centre for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, said there was a lot of support in general for African candidates but the key issue was whether the continent could unite behind one of them.