By Samuel Ohwovoriole and Aisha Biola Raji
Former Finance Nigerian Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has been appointed as the Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO).
By her appointment, Dr. Okonjo-Iweala has made history as the first female and the first African to lead the World Trade Organisation.
WTO made the announcement via its official Twitter account on Monday, February 15, after a meeting between its stakeholders.
WTO tweeted, “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.”
Before her final confirmation, it was reported that, as the first woman and African to head the trade body, Okonjo-Iweala has shattered a couple of ceilings at the same time. She also has a chance to put Africa’s plans to build the world’s biggest free trade area on the top table, pointing to the productive and market opportunities on the continent.
Reports also has it that, she has won the race for the job from hell. That much was clear when her predecessor – Brazil’s Robert Azevêdo – quit the post early after years of frustration at the logjams in negotiation on reforming the WTO.
Those negotiations have been made harder still by the eruption of a trade war between the US and China alongside sporadic outbreaks of economic nationalism across the globe.
The World Trade Organization is the only global international organization dealing with the rules of trade between nations. At its heart are the WTO agreements, negotiated and signed by the bulk of the world’s trading nations and ratified in their parliaments. The goal of WTO is to ensure that trade flows as smoothly, predictably and freely as possible.
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