Amina Mohamed, Kenya's nominee for the position of Director-General of the World Trade Organization ( WTO), has vowed to promote an open trading framework once the mandate has been issued. This promise was made at a virtual meeting with business leade...
kenya, trade, africa
Amina Mohamed, Kenya's nominee for the position of Director-General of the World Trade Organization ( WTO), has vowed to promote an open trading framework once the mandate has been issued.
This promise was made at a virtual meeting with business leaders of the East African Community this week. Mohamed is the only regional contender for the top job of the WTO.
The regional business community expressed trust in Mohamed's candidacy, underpinned by his pledge to lead reforms towards the removal of trade barriers and the implementation of the Agreement on the African Continental Free Trade Area (ACFTA) if chosen.
The virtual meeting, which took place on Wednesday, was convened by the East African Business Council (EABC), which brought together industry captains from the region to discuss the deepening of ties between the private sector in East Africa and the WTO.
Speaking from Geneva, Mohamed told the meeting that once the mandate had been issued, she would press for a vibrant multilateral trading system to improve Africa 's trade.
"If I were chosen, I would be a strong supporter of an open exchange scheme. I will also be a pioneer in the reform of the system and, in particular, in the recovery of the economy from the Covid-19 pandemic, "she said.
According to the UN Economic Commission for Africa, companies in African countries currently face higher tariffs when they export within Africa than outside the continent.
"If we abolished the current global average tariffs of 6.1% in Africa, we would potentially double intra-African trade between African countries, from 15% to 30%. If we also remove some of the urgent tariff barriers, intra-African trade will increase significantly, "she added.
Amina stated that while trade rules are agreed by the governments of WTO member states, it is the private sector that uses them to increase trade and investment.
"The diverse East African community with an active private sector would ensure that the region profits greatly from both the World Trade System and the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (ACFTA)," she said.
EABC CEO Dr Peter Mathuki said, "We are optimistic that the voice of the African private sector will be expressed and heard in its reform agenda at the WTO, with an emphasis on deeper interaction between the private sector and the global body."
The WTO Director-General 's selection process is now in the third step, where WTO representatives are consulted in order to narrow down the nominee for consensus support.