Roberto Azevedo, Director-General of the World Trade Organization, is scheduled to leave his post on August 31. Eight candidates are running for the post of Director-General, three of whom are from the African continent. Facing severe challenges Can the WTO welcome the first head of Africa?

【African Women】

From the 15th to the 17th, the WTO convened a special meeting of the General Council. 8 candidates appeared one by one and accepted an “interview”.

Kenyan candidate Amina Muhammad ran for the second time, and his voice was louder. She has served in various ministerial positions in Kenya and has extensive work experience in international organizations. She has served as Kenya’s representative to the WTO, chairman of the WTO General Council, and the first female director general of the International Organization for Migration.

Another female candidate from Africa, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, was Nigeria’s Minister of Finance and Minister of Foreign Affairs. She is an expert in international finance, an economist and an expert in international development affairs. She has worked at the World Bank for nearly 25 years , Once served as the Executive Vice President of the World Bank, and currently serves as the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization.

Analysts believe that “African” and “female” attributes are the distinguishing characteristics of these two candidates.


The resumes of most candidates reflect work experience in the field of international trade. However, a recent survey revealed that trade experts seem to value the management and political experience of re-appointing director-general, economic background and trade negotiation experience are not the primary considerations. In the opinion of some analysts, more political considerations are needed to determine the candidate for the WTO Director-General, especially the candidate’s “ancestral home.”

Analysts expect that the candidate of WTO Director-General will face fierce competition from all sides, and there will be no results in a short time. According to the procedure, if the post of Director General is vacant, an acting Director General will be selected from the current Deputy Director Generals.


Roberto Azevedo is scheduled to leave his post on August 31. His decision “is in the best interests of this organization”. He hopes that the new director general can inject the “energy and endurance” that the WTO urgently needs. He emphasized that when multilateral cooperation encounters challenges, the WTO is “a major pillar of global economic governance.” “The WTO may not be perfect, but it is still indispensable. It can prevent us from falling into a world where the law of the jungle is rampant, at least in terms of trade.”

Several analysts believe that to promote WTO reform, five key problems need to be addressed, namely how to build consensus among members and maintain the global trading system; how to resolve conflicts among members and create an atmosphere of unity and consultation; and how to deal with acute and complex issues involving members’ vital interests And sensitive disputes; how to resolve the “shutdown” of the Appellate Body so as to restore the function of the trade dispute resolution mechanism as soon as possible; how to improve the efficiency of internal work as soon as possible.