Mahama endorses Alan Kyerematen for WTO post

Mr. Alan Kyerematen
Mr. Alan Kyerematen

After getting the support of the entire 53-member country African Union (AU), Mr Alan Kyerematen has received the endorsement of Ghana’s President John Mahama for his bid to become the next Director General of the Geneva-based World Trade Organisation (WTO).

In a statement issued December 13, 2012 by the Office of the President, Mr Mahama confirmed his “government’s support and campaign for the candidature of Alan Kwadwo Kyerematen…for the position of Director General of the WTO.”

According to the statement, President Mahama has already started campaigning for Mr Kyerematen.

In an address to the 7th Summit of the Heads of State and Governments of Africa, Caribbean and Pacific Countries (ACP) in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, on Thursday, President Mahama asked his colleagues to join Ghana to support Mr. Kyerematen for the position.

President Mahama gave the assurance that Ghana will use its leverage within the comity of Nations to garner support for Mr. Kyerematen’s bid, according to the statement.

President Mahama hoped through negotiations and dialogue, other countries including members of the 79-member ACP will go with Ghana’s choice, his office said.

Mr. Kyeremanten who has served as Minister of Trade in Ghana and was Ghana’s Ambassador to the US is currently the head of the African Trade Policy Centre (ATPC) of the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

He was nominated for the WTO job by the AU at a meeting in Addis Ababa in July 2012.

Mr. Alan Kyerematen in an exclusive interview in September 2012 told that he is well suited for the position.

Mr. Kyerematen says he is qualified to head the WTO because he is a politician, has worked as a diplomat and in the private sector and has the skills to steer the WTO.

“In all modesty, I happen to combine all these characteristics and it’s just by God’s grace. I have been a politician, I have been not just a senior Cabinet Minister, I have gone as far as running for President, I have been Ambassador to the United States. And I have also been someone who has had a distinguished career in the private sector,” he says.

Frenchman Pascal Lamy’s tenure as Director-General of the WTO will end next year and there will be need for a replacement.

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.

By Ekow Quandzie

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