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Ghana, Kenyan officials among candidates for WTO top post

Ghana’s former Trade Minister Alan John Kyerematen and Kenyan diplomat Amina Abdallah are among the candidates vying for the post of the Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) to replace Pascal Lamy, whose term expires in August 2013.

According to information posted on the website of the Geneva-based global trade organisation Wednesday, nine candidates, mostly ministers of trade from developing countries, beat the 31 December 2012 deadline to submit their nominations, to be considered at a meeting on 29 January 2013.

Abdallah is the current deputy executive director of the Nairobi-based UN Environmental Programme (UNEP).

She led a high-level lobbying by African envoys in Geneva, Switzerland, for a fair global trading pact before the 2003 ministerial talks in Cancun, Mexico, which ended in a deadlock.

Kyerematen, the first candidate to enter the race, has previously chaired high-level trade ministerial meetings and was a special envoy of the African Union when the continental body sought the road map for the launching of a continental Free Trade Area by 2017 at its meeting in January 2012.

The Ghanaian politician also chaired the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Council of Trade Ministers in 2007.

The two African candidates will be presented along with the others from Brazil, Costa Rica, Indonesia, Jordan, Korea, Mexico and New Zealand to a formal General Council meeting being held on 29 January.

The candidates with the least support among the members would be forced to drop until a winner is crowned, according to the rules of the Council.

The Council will make its final decision on 31 May

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