Profiling The 3 Female Candidates Vying For WTO DG Position



Biography job are now known.

There are eight candidates in the race; three from Africa, two from Europe, one from the Middle-East, one from North America, and one from Asia.

In the race are three women — Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Amina Mohammed and Yoo Myung-hee — and four men.

If any of the women win, she would become the first female WTO DG since the organization was set up 25 years ago.


Here is a biography of three female candidates as reviewed by TheCable and here is how they stand:


Age 53
Occupation Lawyer, politician
Current job Minister of trade
Education Juris Doctor from Vanderbilt University Law School, and masters in public policy from Seoul National University
Previous international jobs None
Previous local jobs Presidential spokesperson; deputy minister for FTA negotiation; First Secretary (2007-2008) and then Counsellor (2009-2010), Korean Embassy in China; Director-General for Bureau of Trade Policy
Current international jobs None
Awards N/A
Selling point Experience negotiating trade at the highest level of governance in and out of the WTO
WTO experience None
Quotable quote “South Korea can become a bridge, connecting developing countries and advanced countries”
Quick fact She is regarded as the “devil’s advocate” in Korea, due to her aggressive trade negotiations, and she is the first woman to become minister of trade in Korea — after 70 years of male domination.


Age 58
Occupation Lawyer, diplomat, and politician
Current Job Cabinet Secretary for Sports, Heritage, and Culture in Kenya
Education LLM in International law from the University of Kiev, Ukraine and Postgraduate diploma in International Relations from the University of Oxford, UK.
Previous International Jobs Chair of the International Organization for Migration, chair of the World Trade Organization’s General Council, assistant secretary-General of the UN and deputy executive director at UNEP.
Previous local Jobs Cabinet Secretary for Foreign Affairs; Cabinet Secretary for Education
Awards Knight of the Order of the Star of Italian Solidarity (Cav.O.S.S.I.); Life Member of the Red Cross Society; Honorary Doctorate from KCA University; Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun (2017)
Selling point Experience at the highest level of the WTO
WTO Experience She ran for the office of the DG in 2013 but lost to Roberto Azevedo, the current DG
Controversy Ran against the AU candidate for the WTO top job in 2013 — both lost
Quotable quote “The best years of this organisation (WTO) are not in the past, they are in its future; there is always a golden past, but the best is never in the past”
Fun fact She speaks Somali, English, Russian, Swahili and has a working knowledge of French

















Age 65
Occupation Development economist, diplomat
Current job Chair, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance
Education Bachelor’s in economics from Harvard University and PhD in regional economics and development from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Honourary degrees from over a dozen universities worldwide.
Previous international jobs MD of the World Bank; co-chair of the Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation; UN Secretary General’s high-level panel on the post-2015 development agenda
Previous local Jobs Two-time minister of finance in Nigeria; minister of foreign affairs. The first female to take up both jobs.
Current International Jobs Board member at Twitter, Standard Chartered Bank, and African Risk Capacity; co-Chair of the Global Commission for the Economy and Climate; member Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) international advisory board; IMF external advisory board; AU special envoy.
Awards Global Finance Minister of the Year 2005 by Euromoney; Top 100 Most Influential People in the World for 2014 by TIME Magazine, 2014; Top 100 Global Thinkers 2011, 2012 by Foreign Policy; the Top 100 Most Powerful Women in the World by Forbes Magazine 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014; National honours from Nigeria, Liberia and Cote d’Ivoire.
Selling point Experience at the highest level of the World Bank, and easily one of Africa’s most trusted technocrats
WTO Experience None
Quotable quote “The best way to help Africans today is to help them to stand on their own feet. And the best way to do that is by helping create jobs.”
Quick fact Kidnapper who held her mother captive requested her resignation as minister of finance for her role in seeking transparency with fuel subsidy payment in Nigeria. She refused.

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