As expected when an international job becomes vacant, what characterizes it, is endorsement, nominations, alliances, negotiations among others between countries.
Several names crop up for such a position as recently witnessed in the case of the World Bank Presidency and the International Monetary Fund top job.
Names for the WTO top job have started dropping and one name up is that of Ghana’s former Trade Minister, Alan Kyerematen. He currently serves a trade advisor at the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Kyerematen heads the African Trade Policy Centre (ATPC), a centre created by the ECA in June 2003 with the main objective of strengthening the human and institutional capacities of African governments to formulate and implement sound trade policies and participate more effectively in trade negotiations at the bilateral, regional and multilateral levels.
The nomination of Kyerematen, who was also a former Ghana Ambassador to the US for the WTO job was said to have been put by the African Union (AU) at a meeting in Addis Ababa in July 2012, which according to Reuters, was attended by current WTO boss, Pascal Lamy.
The AU’s approval of Kyerematen is reported by Reuters citing sources that it was part of a deal to allow Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, a South African Minister and ex-wife of President Jacob Zuma, to win the election to the chair of the AU.
“So there was this agreement to nominate this Ghanaian minister as the candidate from Africa,” one WTO diplomat told the news wire. “From what I’ve heard, as soon as the meeting was over, others said ‘No way’.”
But another Geneva-based trade official was quoted as saying “If he gets 54 African countries to start in his corner, then that’s big.”
Even though it was seen as the “I scratch your back – you scratch my back” strategy between South Africa and
Ghana, it is reported that President Zuma’s Trade Minister, Rob Davies has been approached to run for the job, although his country is yet to decide whether to put forward a candidate or not.
Davies’ spokesman Sidwell Medupe, in an email response, told Reuters that his boss’s candidacy “depends on the outcome of discussions within our own country as well as with others,” and as to whether South Africa will back Kyerematen, he said “We are assessing that.”
Many have speculated that former World Bank Presidential candidate and Nigeria’s Finance Minister Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala will run for the post to replace Lamy but her office said she is not interested.
“For the avoidance of doubt, Dr Okonjo-Iweala is not a candidate for the leadership of the WTO. She has also not expressed any interest whatsoever in the position,” a statement from the Nigerian Finance Ministry said.
Kyerematen’s chances keep brightening as many want to see a developing country national succeeding Pascal Lamy but some fear the job will be a horse race for developed countries such as the US and other European countries.
But senior officials from other countries that could join the race were dismissive and angry at what one called Ghana’s attempt to “pre-empt” the contest.
“One would have expected that the AU would have looked at the totality of African candidates and who would have been best to build a candidature around,” said one source.
“I’m not even sure if some members of the AU candidature committee are members of the WTO.”
It’s expected Kyerematen will start strong lobbying to gain full African backing as his ATPC holds its Second African Trade Forum in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa in two weeks time.
The WTO said the appointment process of the Director-General is guided by the best interests of the Organization, respect for the dignity of the candidates and the members nominating them, and by full transparency and inclusiveness at all stages, building on the best practices established over the past years with regard to internal transparency and participation of all Members.
It believes that the overriding objective of members in the process shall be to reach decisions by consensus.
The process leading up to the decision by the General Council to appoint a Director-General shall be conducted by the Chair of the General Council in consultation with members and in accordance with the procedures set out herein.
According to a WTO document, the appointment process starts nine months prior to the expiry of the term of the incumbent Director-General with a notification from the Chair to the General Council.
The process shall conclude with a meeting of the General Council convened not later than three months prior to the expiry of an incumbent’s term, at which a decision to appoint a new Director-General shall be taken.
The document says members shall have one month after the start of the appointment process to nominate candidates.
Nominations shall be submitted by members only, and in respect of their own nationals.
The candidates nominated shall then have three months to make themselves known to members and to engage in discussions on the pertinent issues facing the Organization.
The remaining two months prior to the conclusion of this process shall be devoted to selecting and appointing one of the candidates.
For a person’s qualifications for the WTO job, the candidate should, in broad terms, have extensive experience in international relations, encompassing economic, trade and/or political experience.
He or She is also expected to have a firm commitment to the work and objectives of the WTO, having proven leadership and managerial ability and demonstrated communications skills.
Source Ghana Business News