The potential delay of next week’s meeting is neither the only nor the greatest hurdle to Okonjo-Iweala’s appointment.
The World Trade Organization’s effort to select a new leader next week could be delayed for at least another month because of the rapid spread of Covid-19 in Switzerland.
On Sunday Geneva’s cantonal authorities announced strict new lockdown measures amid a surge in infections and hospitalizations in the Swiss city. From Nov. 2 until Nov. 29, the area will prohibit public and private events of more than five people.
The development could further disrupt the WTO’s ability to confirm Nigeria’s Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala as the first African and first woman to lead the organization in its 25-year history.
While some in-person meetings may become virtual, senior WTO officials are discussing whether to postpone their plan to make a formal decision on Okonjo-Iweala’s appointment at a general council meeting currently scheduled for Nov. 9 at the WTO’s headquarters in Geneva.
WTO spokesman Keith Rockwell did not immediately respond to Bloomberg’s requests for comment.
The potential delay of next week’s meeting is neither the only nor the greatest hurdle to Okonjo-Iweala’s appointment to be director-general.
On Oct. 28 the Trump administration said it would oppose her bid because the U.S. preferred South Korean Trade Minister Yoo Myung-hee for the job. Yoo has refused to withdraw from the race and has not responded to Bloomberg’s multiple requests for comment.
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