Public Management

Nigeria’s Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala becomes first African to head WTO

Tuesday, 16 February 2021 10:13
Nigeria’s Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala becomes first African to head WTO

(Ecofin Agency) - Nigeria’s ex-finance minister Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala became the new Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO). The lady becomes the first woman and the first African to hold this position.

She received support from David Walker, the WTO Board Chairman, who reassured of the intention of all WTO members to help her accomplish her mission. “We look forward to collaborating closely with you, Dr. Ngozi, and I am certain that all members will work with you constructively during your tenure as director-general to shape the future of this organization,” he said.

Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala's appointment follows a nine-month selection process that saw many female candidates apply and then withdraw. Examples are Kenyan Amina Mohamed and South Korean Yoo Myung-hee who ended up dropping their candidacies.

Following her official appointment, the new WTO Director-General expressed her intention to prioritize the recovery from the pandemic. “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 new Director-General said. She will officially take office March 1st for a renewable tenure set to end on August 31st, 2025.

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