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Who’s still in the running for WTO leadership?

After Friday’s first round of eliminations, here are penpics of the five candidates still in the running to become the next director-general of the World Trade Organization.

Abdel-Hamid Mamdouh (Egypt), Jesus Seade (Mexico) and Tudor Ulianovschi (Moldova) were all eliminated from the race to replace Brazilian career diplomat Roberto Azevedo, who stepped down at the end of August.

– Liam Fox –


— Fox, 58, spent three years as Britain’s first post-Brexit international trade minister. A former family doctor, the Scot twice ran for the Conservative Party leadership.

Fox was the defence minister during the latter years of Britain’s engagement in Afghanistan. The lawmaker is the only elected politician running. He has vowed to appoint women to at least half of the WTO senior leadership.

— “Free trade must never mean a free-for-all.”

– Amina Mohamed –


— The former Kenyan foreign minister, 58, is well-known at the WTO, having already chaired the organisation’s most important bodies: the Ministerial Conference, the General Council, the Dispute Settlement Body and the Trade Policy Review Body.

The current sports, heritage and culture minister ran for the WTO leadership in 2013 and her vision this time is “reform, recovery, renewal”.

— “We need to break the cycle of despair and enter into a new phase of hope and realism.”

– Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala –


— Her country’s first female finance and foreign minister, the 66-year-old had a 25-year career as a development economist at the World Bank, eventually becoming its number two.

She chairs Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, is on the Twitter board of directors, and is a special envoy for the World Health Organization’s Covid-19 fight.

— “If the right washes the left hand, and the left hand washes the right hand, then both become clean. This is a call for collective action.”

– Mohammad al-Tuwaijri –

(Saudi Arabia)

— A former air force pilot who flew more than 30 Gulf War missions, he was a banker who ran J.P. Morgan’s fledgling Saudi Arabia operations before joining HSBC.

The former Saudi economy minister, 53, currently advises the kingdom’s royal court on economic strategy. He wants to do an “MRI scan” deep assessment of the WTO’s problems.

— “If all wheels do not spin as designed, the tricycle cannot carry the members forward to reach their goal.”

– Yoo Myung-hee –

(South Korea)

— Yoo, 53, became South Korea’s first female trade minister in March last year after a career in trade diplomacy and foreign affairs. In 1995, she headed WTO affairs at the trade ministry and went on to strike free trade agreements with China and the United States.

Her plan is to make the WTO more relevant, resilient, and responsive.

— “Despite many challenges, I am confident that the WTO will regain the hope and optimism.”