Nigeria’s Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and South Korea’s Yoo Myung-hee are finalists for the highest job.

Geneva, Switzerland:

The World Commerce Group is about to have its first feminine chief after Nigeria’s Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and South Korea’s Yoo Myung-hee made it by way of Thursday to the ultimate run-off, a WTO spokesman introduced.

They noticed off competitors from Britain’s Liam Fox, Kenya’s Amina Mohamed and Saudi Arabia’s Mohammad al-Tuwaijri within the second spherical of the battle to turn out to be the subsequent director-general of the WTO.

“Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala of Nigeria and Korean minister Yoo Myung-hee will advance to the third and ultimate stage of consultations,” WTO spokesman Keith Rockwell instructed reporters on the international commerce physique’s headquarters in Geneva, following a gathering the place the news was introduced to member states.

“The third stage will run from October 19 to October 27,” he stated, with a winner to be introduced earlier than November 7.

The preliminary pool of eight candidates to switch Brazilian profession diplomat Roberto Azevedo, who stepped down as WTO chief in August a yr forward of schedule, was narrowed down to 5 in final month’s first spherical.

Reasonably than simple elections, the WTO eliminates is management candidates by way of a means of consensus and preferences.

Okonjo-Iweala and Yoo’s candidacies acquired a lift earlier this week when EU member states formally threw their weight behind them.

Okonjo-Iweala, 66, served as her nation’s first feminine finance and international minister, and has a 25-year profession behind her as a growth economist on the World Financial institution, finally turning into its quantity two.

She can be on Twitter’s board of administrators and is a particular envoy for the World Well being Group’s Covid-19 struggle.

If she emerges triumphant from the ultimate elimination spherical, she wouldn’t solely be the primary lady, but in addition the primary African to guide the worldwide commerce physique.

Yoo, 53, is in the meantime at the moment serving as her nation’s first feminine commerce minister, following a profession in commerce diplomacy and international affairs.

Whoever is handed the job ultimately will probably be taking on an organisation mired in a number of crises, and struggling to assist members navigate a extreme international financial droop triggered by the coronavirus pandemic.

Already earlier than the Covid-19 disaster hit, the organisation was grappling with stalled commerce talks and struggling to curb tensions between the USA and China.

The worldwide commerce physique has additionally confronted relentless assaults from Washington, which has crippled the WTO dispute settlement enchantment system and threatened to depart the organisation altogether.

– WTO sees softer drop –

The WTO forecast on Tuesday that international commerce, devastated by the coronavirus disaster, will shrink by lower than anticipated this yr however the rebound can even be a lot weaker than beforehand forecast.

Revising its prior “optimistic situation” forecast of not less than a 12.9-percent contraction in 2020, the WTO stated it now anticipated international commerce to shrink by simply 9.2 p.c this yr.

However it can then develop by solely 7.2 p.c subsequent yr, relatively than the earlier 21.three p.c estimate issued in April, the WTO added.

“World commerce exhibits indicators of bouncing again from a deep, Covid-19-induced droop, however WTO economists warning that any restoration could possibly be disrupted by the continuing pandemic results,” the worldwide commerce physique stated in an announcement.

It additional warned that the tempo of commerce growth may gradual sharply as soon as pent-up demand is exhausted and enterprise inventories have been replenished.

Extra detrimental outcomes have been additionally attainable if there’s a resurgence of the coronavirus between now and the top of the yr, it stated.

International gross home product will fall by 4.eight p.c in 2020 earlier than rising by 4.9 p.c in 2021, the WTO forecast.

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