Okonjo-Iweala, Aganga Named As Potential Replacements for Outgoing WTO Head

Okonjo Iweala (r), Finance Minister; Segun Aganga (l), Trade Minister; Aruma Oteh, SEC DG

Businessnews.com: The names of Ngozi Okonjo Iweala and Segun Aganga, both members of the Federal Cabinet and Economic Management Team are being bandied as potential candidates for the leadership of the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Current WTO chief, Pascal Lamy, is set to step down in a year and the race to select a successor is currently underway even as Emerging market countries seek to fill the slot after top jobs at the International Monetary Fund and World Bank went to a European and an American.

“It’s a multi-dimensional chess game,” said one ambassador to the WTO. “As in any election, you have to choose the best moment to put your cards on the table.”

“It’s very early days. We look forward to a competitive process with a slate of very good candidates,” said the WTO’s chief spokesman Keith Rockwell.

Currently only two people have indicated interest for the top job. They include New Zealand Trade minister Tim Grosser and a Ghanaian former Trade minister Alan Kyerematen.

Sources say it does not yet appear Africa has a consensus candidate and other African countries may nominate potential candidates.

Trade Minister Segun Aganga is said to have made his interest in the position known at a WTO conference last December and Finance ministr Okonjo Iweala is also said to be a potential candidate after losing the World Bank appointment earlier this year.

Her office is yet to comment on her intentions or otherwise.

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