Okonjo-Iweala Becomes WTO 1st African, Female DG, As FG Lauds Process

The newly confirmed Director General, WTO Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

The World Trade Organisation has confirmed Nigerian Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala as the new director-general.
The selection of Dr. Okonjo-Iweala makes history as she becomes the first woman and the first African to lead the WTO.

The General Council decision follows months of uncertainty, which arose when the United States initially refused to join the consensus around Dr Okonjo-Iweala and threw its support behind the Republic of Korea Trade Minister, Yoo Myung-hee.

Her appointment follows the withdrawal of candidacy of Ms Too and Washington’s strong support of Dr Okonjo Iweala’s candidacy.

While reacting to her appointment, the Nigerian economist said a key priority area for her would be to work with members to quickly address the economic and health consequences brought about by the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

“I am honoured to have been selected by WTO members as WTO Director-General. A strong WTO is vital if we are to recover fully and rapidly from the devastation wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic, she said.

Following her appointment, the Nigerian economist said a key priority for her would be to work with members to quickly address the economic and health consequences brought about by the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

Meanwhile, the Federal Government has described the selection of Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala as the Director General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) as the right choice which will do the organisation a lot of good in years to come.

The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo in his speech delivered via zoom at the Special General Council Meeting of the organisation in Geneva, Switzerland on Monday, said the process of selection was not only transparent but the credit for the resulting success must go to the entire membership and to the TROIKA.

According to him, “Nigeria wishes to express profound gratitude and deep appreciation to all the members, who one way or the other, assisted Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala during the campaign period. Thanks also goes to all the regional groupings in the WTO for granting audience and support during and after the exercise.
“We also thank the WTO Secretariat staff, translators and the press who worked really hard in supporting and providing updates to members and the general public on the DirectorGeneral selection process.”

He assured that the new Director General of WTO would not disappoint the organisation and all those who worked to make the appointment a reality, saying, “You will find her as a servant-leader who will always listen to you and work with you to achieve a common purpose.”

The new Director General of WTO who is expected to assume office on March 1in Geneva served twice as a minister of finance under former president Olusegun Obasanjo and former president Goodluck Jonathan.

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