Jamaican Pamela Coke-Hamilton has been named to the post of executive director of the International Trade Center (ITC), the joint agency of the Conference on Trade and Development at the United Nations (UNCTAD) and the World Trade Organization (WTO). She will succeed Arancha Gonzalez Laya of Spain.
Coke-Hamilton currently serves as the director of the UNCTAD’s Division on International Trade and Commodities. According to UN Secretary-General António Guterres who announced her appointment, Coke-Hamilton brings significant expertise and broad experience to her new job, having worked with Jamaica’s Government, member states of the Caribbean Forum (CARIFORUM) in trade negotiations, and with multilateral institutions like the Inter-American Development Bank and the Organization of American States (OAS). She was also the executive director of the Caribbean Export Development Agency, which is based in Barbados, working to strengthen the capacity of micro, small, and midsized enterprises and the private sector through the promotion of investments.
Coke-Hamilton is a lawyer, a diplomat, and an expert in trade. She attended Manchester High School in Mandeville and went on to get her undergraduate degree in Economics and International Relations at the University of the West Indies. She then traveled to Washington DC where she earned a Juris Doctor degree at the Georgetown University School of Law. At the University of the West Indies, Coke-Hamilton was instrumental in designing the Masters in International Trade Policy Program, a program that added depth to the region’s trade policy capabilities. She received an honorary Doctorate of Laws for her work in this area.
Coke-Hamilton will take on her new role at a critical time due to the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the international trading system, especially on small and midsized enterprises in developing nations. The ITC is vital in helping to create businesses and countries that are stronger and more resilient.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres noted that Coke-Hamilton understands the challenges faced by vulnerable economies, including Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) as she has designed custom interventions in these areas. She has also worked with the private sector in African, Caribbean and Pacific countries, as well as with universities to strengthen trade-related institutional strengths in member states. She is a strong supporter of gender equality and mainstreaming in trade, as well, and established the Women Empowered through Export (WeXport) platform to address challenges facing women-owned firms attempting to access markets.
Photo source: International Trade Centre (ITC)