WTO General Council chairman David Walker announced that Ambassador Mohamed and four other candidates will stay in the race after they secured “the broadest and deepest support from the WTO membership.”
The former Kenyan foreign minister is the only East African on the race and her bid has the support of the member states of the East African Community and several regional business organisations.
A two-week consultation between envoys of the 164-member global agency retained Mohamed, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala of Nigeria, Yoo Myung-hee of South Korea, Mohammad Maziad Al-Tuwaijri of Saudi Arabia and Dr Liam Fox of the United Kingdom.
The four will compete in the next round that starts on September 24 to October 6, to settle on two candidates who move to the final stage.
“Members consider all highly qualified and respected individuals. I would also like to pay tribute to the dignified manner in which they, their delegations, and their governments have conducted themselves in this process,” Walker told envoys of member states here yesterday.
Dr Jesús Seade Kuri of Mexico, Abdel-Hamid Mamdouh of Egypt and Tudor Ulianovschi of Moldova were dropped from the race for receiving the least indications of support from member states.
Mohamed had contested against Brazilian trade negotiator Roberto Azevêdo in 2013 but lost on a decision made by consensus among member states.
The director-general of the WTO is appointed through consensus, meaning candidates will have to do lots of horse-trading ahead of the decision making at each stage.
The WTO, formed in 1995 is a rule-making body that guides international trade and tries to resolves disputes. It is based in Geneva and decisions it delivers on cases brought before it are often final, and exercise a moderating diplomatic influence in disputes on world trade, even without being a proper UN agency.