Three women, including two from Africa, are in the second round of the selection process for the next director-general of the World Trade Organisation, the Geneva-based body said on Friday.
The announcement coms as the field was cut from eight to five, in the search for a new director-general to replace Brazilian Roberto Azevedo.
Azevedo stepped down a year earlier than expected at the end of August.
The 25-year-old trade body has never had a leader who is female or from Africa.
The five to go through to the next round are Kenyan minister Amina Mohamed, former Nigerian Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, South Korean Trade Minister Yoo Myung-hee, Saudi Arabia’s Mohammad Al-Tuwaijri and British ex-minister Liam Fox.
The WTO has said it wants to select the winner by early November.
“The objective is to have this process completed within 2 months – it began on 7 September so on or about 7 November, so we are on track for this. The process has gone smoothly,” WTO spokesman Keith Rockwell told reporters.