Kenya nominates CS Amina Mohamed for WTO Director-General position


Kenya’s Sports and Culture Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed/ COURTESY

Kenya has nominated Sports CS Amina Mohamed for the post of World Trade Organization Director-General.

Mohamed is seeking to succeed the current Director-General, Roberto Azevêdo, who will step down on August 31, this year.

This was communicated by the WTO news on the Director General selection process.

“According to the timetable announced by the Chair of the General Council, David Walker, the nomination period will close on 8 July 2020. Shortly after the nomination period has closed, candidates will be invited to meet with members at a special General Council meeting, present their views and take questions from the membership,” WTO said on its website.

Mohamed emerged among the top contenders for the WTO position after the sudden resignation of Azevêdo a year earlier.

Azevêdo, a career Brazilian diplomat, announced his resignation on May 14. His second four-year term was due to expire in September 2021.

Former UK Trade Secretary Liam Fox/ COURTESY

Peter Mandelson, the British former European Union Trade commissioner, was also in the race but the UK has opted for former UK trade secretary Liam Fox.

“Fox, a Brexiter with strong connections to the US Republican party, would get the nod from Prime Minister Boris Johnson,” the Financial Times said on Wednesday.On Monday the British government told Mandelson it would not back him because of his anti-Brexit views. Despite being likely to secure the support of some EU governments, the peer was abruptly told by International Trade Secretary Liz Truss that the British government would not back him because he was “not a Brexiter”.

Speaking to the Financial Times in May, Amina called for reforms in WTO, saying the organisation’s rule book needs to change.

She proposed streamlining WTO’s judicial processes and improving transparency about governments’ trade-distorting actions.

“It is important to be inclusive and show that the membership knows that every part of the globe can make a positive contribution to the running of the WTO,”Amina told FT.

“If that person happens to be African, or happens to be a woman, I think it will be so much better,” she lobbied for herself.

As a Permanent Representative, Amina has represented Kenya in various organisations in the UN system, and participated in drafting and interpretation of International Trade Treaties.



Amina, who also worked as Foreign Affairs and International Trade minister, is seeking united support from African governments for the post, which she failed to win when she stood for the African Union Commission chairmanship in 2017.


She lost to Moussa Faki, a former Chadian prime minister and Foreign Affairs minister at the time of his election.

A Daily Nation report in December 2019 said Kenya spent Sh437.7 million in its failed bid to capture the AUC seat.

Highlighted as confidential expenditure, data submitted to Parliament showed Sh437,776, 982 was spent in the campaigns, exceeding the set confidential expenditure by Sh52,095,299.

Foreign Affairs PS Ambassador Macharia Kamau said the Sh52 million had been used by Deputy President William Ruto, who earlier led the shuttle diplomacy to lobby for the seat.

“This difference relates to the AUC campaigns conducted by the Deputy President and were initially charged under the AUC campaign funds, but were later transferred to State Visits expenditure,” Kamau told Parliament.

Kenya campaigned across Africa with President Uhuru Kenyatta sending special envoys to all the 53 countries

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