WTO confirms Okonjo-Iweala as Director-General

The former Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has been appointed as the Director-General (DG) of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

Okonjo-Iweala, whose tenure begins March 1, is the first woman and African to hold the position.

The WTO stated this in a tweet on Monday, saying, “Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala from Nigeria is appointed as the next WTO Director-General. Dr. Okonjo-Iweala makes history as the first woman and the first African to lead the WTO.

Her term starts on the 1st of March 2021.

“WTO members took the decision to appoint @NOIweala at a special meeting of the General Council, following a selection process that included eight candidates from around the world #WTODG.”

The former Minister had, a few days ago, received the backing of the administration of US President Joe Biden for the role.

The US Trade Representative in a statement cited her “wealth of knowledge in economics and international diplomacy” and said she had “proven experience managing a large international organization.”

Okonjo-Iweala was challenged by South Korean Trade Minister Yoo Myung-hee who later withdrew from the race for the position.

Reacting, Okonjo-Iweala stated that it was an  honour to have been selected to lead the organisation.

“I am honoured to have been selected by WTO members as WTO Director-General,” Okonjo-Iweala said on Monday afternoon.

“A strong WTO is vital if we are to recover fully and rapidly from the devastation wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I look forward to working with members to shape and implement the policy responses we need to get the global economy going again.

“Our organisation faces a great many challenges but working together we can collectively make the WTO stronger, more agile and better adapted to the realities of today”, she added.

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