Dr. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala’s bid to become the next Director-General of the World Trade Organization, received a huge boost as the government of the Republic of Benin withdrew their nomination for Eloi Laourou in support of her close-door neighbours, Nigeria. In a two-page letter addressed to the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Benin in the United Nations Office and other International Organizations on Friday, June 12, 2020, the government of Benin Republic made its decision known, while also informing the International Organization of La Francophonie (0IF) at the World Trade Organization (WTO).
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The West African nation under the administration of President Patrice Guillaume Athanase Talon revealed that its decision to withdraw Eloi Laourou was based on consultations reached by three African countries under the auspices of the Summit of Heads of State and Government of the African Union on February 10 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to ensure Africa presents a single candidate for the post. The Permanent Mission of Benin Republic also urged OIF member states to make their national authorities aware of its decision to support Okonjo-Iweala’s candidature.
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While nominations will end on July 8, 2020, the present Director-General of the WTO, Mr Roberto Azevedo, is set to step down on August 31, 2020, a year ahead of the expiry of his term in office. After nominations, candidates will be invited to a special general council meeting to meet with members of the organisation, entertain questions, and air their views. So far, there are only three candidates for the position, Mr. Jesús Seade Kuri of Mexico, Mr. Abdel-Hamid Mamdouh of Egypt, and renowned economist and international development expert, Ngozi Okonjo Iweala. The new DG is expected to serve a term of four years, from 2021-2024.
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