WTO Leadership Race Hits New Hurdle as Geneva Lockdown Returns



Bryce Baschuk | Bloomberg

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.

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