Biographical Highlights

Amina Mohamed has all the qualities and experience the WTO needs in a Director-General for this decade. As a Minister and Ambassador, she has already guided the organization successfully as Chairperson of all its highest decision-making bodies, including the Ministerial Conference (2015), the General Council (2005), the Dispute Settlement Body (2004) and the Trade Policy Review Body (2004) . Her skills of strategic leadership, effective communication, institutional reform and consensus building have made a major contribution to the WTO’s key achievements of recent years. Her background, knowledge and range of high-level experience give her a uniquely broad and inclusive perspective on the challenges facing the multilateral trading system and she has the ability to address them effectively. She also offers the WTO proven expertise in managing large and complex organizations.

As Kenya’s Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister from 2013 to 2018, she chaired the 2015 WTO Ministerial Conference in Nairobi. As the first woman and first African to chair the WTO’s highest forum, she played a crucial role in reaching positive outcomes, especially the decision to eliminate export subsidies in agriculture. This was the first fulfilment of a UN Sustainable Development Goal, under SDG2-Zero Hunger.

 

Ambassador Mohamed was the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Justice, National Cohesion and Constitutional Affairs from 2008 to - 2011.She was in charge of the constitutional review process that culminated in the promulgation of the 2010 Constitution of Kenya. She managed far reaching legal and Institutional reforms ever realized in Kenya. She also Chaired the Annual Multi-Stakeholder Ethics and Conference.

From 2000 to 2006, Amina was Kenya’s Permanent Representative and Ambassador to the WTO. She was the first woman to chair the General Council in 2005 and the Dispute Settlement Body. As General Council Chair, she brokered an agreement of major importance to developing countries, an amendment to the TRIPS Agreement to assist countries with insufficient manufacturing capacities in the production of essential drugs to treat diseases such as HIV/Aids and Tuberculosis. She was also the first woman to chair the African Group at the WTO and advanced African interests successfully at the WTO and in UN bodies. She was Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations and Deputy Executive Director of UNEP from 2011 to 2013 and helped advance its agenda to address contemporary challenges facing the organization. Given her trade background, she was particularly interested in the interface between trade and environment, believing in their complementarity and mutual supportiveness.

 

As Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Amina worked hard to ensure policy coherence with a view to facilitating foreign direct investment inflows to Kenya and making it easier for investors to do business in Kenya. She also led Kenya and Africa in negotiating successful outcomes at international and regional organizations, including the 14th Session of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development and the Sixth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD-VI) .

Amina’s Ministerial portfolios have also included Education, Science, Technology and Innovation (2018- 19) and Sports, Culture and Heritage (2019 to present). From 2008 to 2011, she was Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Justice, National Cohesion and Constitutional Affairs. In all these roles, she has promoted development and diversity, particularly the educational, social and economic empowerment of women.

 

Amina graduated in law (LLB and LLM) from Taras Shevchenko University in Kiev, Ukraine, attended the Kenya School of Law, and obtained a Postgraduate Diploma in International Relations as a Chevening Fellow at Oxford University, UK. She is fluent in English, Kiswahili and Russian and has basic knowledge of French. She was born in 1961 and has seven children.