Ex Nigeria’s Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has been officially confirmed as the next Director-General of the World Trade Organization. She is the seventh director-general of the organization.
The organization made this confirmation on its Twitter handle today, Monday February, 15. Historically she is the first woman and the first African to lead the WTO. Her term starts on the 1st of March 2021 and will expire on 31 August 2025.
Okonjo-Iweala who reacted to the decision of the WTO General Council to confirm her appointment, said;
“I am honoured to have been selected by WTO members as WTO Director-General,” said Dr Okonjo-Iweala. “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 organization 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.”
The General Council decision follows months of uncertainty and disagreements that trailed when the United States initially refused to agree and accept Dr Okonjo-Iweala’s candidacy and opted to throw its support behind Trade Minister Yoo Myung-hee of the Republic of Korea. But following Ms Yoo’s decision on 5 February to step down, the administration of newly elected US President Joe Biden dropped the US objection and announced instead that Washington extends its “strong support” to the candidacy of Nigeria’s ex Minister, Dr Okonjo-Iweala