Home HEALTH NIGERIA: Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala to take over WTO Leadership

NIGERIA: Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala to take over WTO Leadership

Okonjo-Iweala, who became a U.S. citizen in 2019, would be the first woman and the first African to lead the WTO. | (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is expected to be the next Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO). She is now the only candidate in the running after the withdrawal of her South Korean rival, Yoo Myung-hee, on Friday, February 5, 2021. If this appointment requires the consensus of the 164 member countries, it was the Trump administration that delayed the process by opposing its veto.

Nigerian Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is free to take command of the World Trade Organization. This was after the United States gave the green light for his appointment. This could be formalized at the WTO General Council meeting scheduled for March 1 and 2, 2021. However, the spokesperson stressed that this timetable could be accelerated if necessary. Far from crying victory, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala wants to focus on the many challenges ahead. “The WTO must focus on the Covid-19 pandemic and the global economic recovery,” she said. Already in October 2020, she had indicated that one of her priorities is to rebuild the dispute settlement body, the WTO tribunal, torpedoed by the Trump administration. In addition to being the first woman to head the WTO, she will also be the first WTO Director-General from Africa.

It should be noted that his appointment comes after the Trump administration tried to stop him? plebisciting his South Korean rival. The WTO met on October 28, 2020, in Geneva, Switzerland, to appoint its new Director-General. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala had the support of almost all member countries and his victory over South Korea’s Yoo Myung-hee was almost complete. But that was without counting on the United States which had judged that Nigeria was not qualified enough to hold the position. Quite the opposite of the South Korean candidate who, according to them, has all the skills required to effectively lead the organization. Yoo Myung-hee, for his part, had only the Americans as his supporters. But at the WTO, we do not vote; we agree. This is how the United States was able to veto.

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Born in the Niger Delta to a father and mother of economics teachers, 66-year-old Dr Ngozi has a full Curriculum Vitae. A graduate of Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), she joined the World Bank in Washington in the early 1980s. A renowned economist, she served as Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of Finance under the presidencies of Olusegun Obasanjo and Goodluck Jonathan. Positions that she was the first woman to hold in her country.In 2019, she was named one of the most aggressive women against corruption by Transparency International. Fortune, Forbes, Newsweek and Foreign Policy, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is in many rankings for her influence on the African continent and the world.


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