Okonjo-Iweala appointed WTO DG — first ever female and African - SALIENT TIMES ONLINE

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Monday, 15 February 2021

Okonjo-Iweala appointed WTO DG — first ever female and African

By Our Correspondent


Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has been appointed as the director-general of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

Okonjo-Iweala’s appointment was announced on Monday by the Geneva-based organisation.

“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,” the WTO announced on Twitter.

“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.”

All WTO member countries except the US had voted Okonjo-Iweala as their preferred candidate in 2020.

However, the United States said it favoured her opponent; South Korea’s Yoo Myung-hee because the WTO needs someone with real, hands-on experience in the field

During the candidates’ presentation stage, Egypt had also kicked against Okonjo-Iweala’s nomination.

Egypt and the AU’s Office of Legal Counsel had opined that Okonjo-Iweala’s nomination violated the candidature guidelines provided by the AU.

However, the WTO said that the former World Bank managing director is eligible to run for the office.

The former Nigerian minister for finance emerged from a shortlist of five which was selected from a pool of eight candidates.