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UN chief Ban Ki-moon has nominated former Kenyan minister and member of parliament Mukhisa Kituyi to lead the UN's trade and development body when the current chief steps down at the end of August.
"United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has nominated Mukhisa Kituyi of Kenya to serve as Secretary-General of UNCTAD for a term of four years beginning September 1, 2013," the UN agency said in a statement.
Kituyi was a member of the Kenyan parliament for 15 years starting in 1992 and served as the country's minister of trade and industry from 2002 to 2007. His nomination must be confirmed by the UN General Assembly.
If confirmed, Kituyi will succeed Supachai Panitchpakdi of Thailand, who has served two terms at the helm of the UN Conference on Trade and Development since taking over the position on September 1, 2005.
The decision to pick a leader for UNCTAD from Africa may have been influenced by the World Trade Organization's recent nomination of Brazilian diplomat Roberto Azevedo to take over the helm there when Frenchman Pascal Lamy leaves at the end of August, since nations often try to balance representation in international organisations among regions.
Two African candidates, one from Kenya and the other from Ghana, were among the initial nine who vied for the top WTO spot.