Lumumba backs Okonjo-Iweala over his country’s candidate for WTO top job

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Okonjo-Iweala

Professor Patrick Lumumba, a Kenyan lawyer who served as the director of Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission, says Nigeria’s Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is the candidate Africa should back for the World Trade Organisation top job.

Lumumba, who is from the same country as Amina Mohamed, who is also contesting for the job, said Okonjo-Iweala is the better candidate – based on credentials.

Speaking during an interview with Osasu Igbinedion on The Osasu Show, Lumumba said Africans have a way of competing against each other rather than complementing each other.

“Our lack of coordination, different things that we should do jointly, and with one voice, we don’t,” he said.

“Recently when we were competing for the non-permanent membership of the UN security council, Djibouti was competing with Kenya. Why?

“Right now, there is the WTO; Okonjo-Iweala is the candidate we should back, given her credentials. Now, a Kenyan candidate has emerged, an Egyptian candidate has emerged — we are going to be manipulated and none of the Africans is going to get it.

“We’ve got to learn to do things properly as a continent. And when we do that, we’ll be stronger and ultimately, our populations would benefit from it.”

There are eight candidates for the WTO top job — and three of them are from Africa.

The professor who is the director of Kenya’s Law School said African leaders agreed in 2000 in Lagos to spend 15 percent of budgets on health but failed at implementing that — and COVID-19 has exposed them.

“I think COVID has done something that nothing has ever done; perhaps, this is the terrible beauty of COVID-19. It is terrible in the sense that we have been shaken down,” he added.

“I think there is now a commitment; I have listened to some of the virtual meetings of the AU, and I begin to see the recognition by African leaders that we can no longer afford the luxury of depending on others.”

He emphasised that the lack of continental trade is greatly affecting Africa, highlighting the fact that Kenya has been importing maize from Mexico, when they should have imported it from Malawi or Tanzania.

As a result of COVID-19, the implementation of the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), which was to begin in July 2020 has been postponed to January 2021.

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