The European Union is united behind Nigeria’s Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala in the two-person race for the top job at the World Trade Organization (WTO), an EU diplomat told dpa.
Two women remain the final hopefuls after the 164 member countries recently narrowed the candidate field from five to two. South Korean Trade Minister Yoo Myung Hee is also in the running.
Whoever ultimately prevails will become the first woman to lead the Geneva-based trade body in its 25-year history.
On Monday, representatives of the 27 EU governments in Brussels reached a consensus on Okonjo-Iweala, the diplomatic source said.
Okonjo-Iweala has been seen as one of the most promising candidates from the start.
She has served as Nigerian finance minister, and has had a 25-year career at the World Bank.
Okonjo-Iweala currently chairs the Gavi vaccine alliance, a public-private initiative that has helped to immunize hundreds of millions of children across the world.
Yee has been involved in multilateral trade issues since 1995, when she took charge of WTO affairs in Seoul’s Trade Ministry.
Her experience includes negotiations with some of the biggest players in global trade, including the United States, China and the European Union.
A decision is expected soon, as the third consultation phase among WTO countries ends on Tuesday. After that it will be determined who has the most support and a formal announcement will be made.
Roberto Azevedo, the former WTO director general, resigned from his post at the end of August for family reasons after seven years in the job.