Nigeria’s Ngozi Iweala is first woman WTO Director General
Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has been elected Director-General of the World Trade Organization. The former Finance Minister of Nigeria has made history to become the first female to occupy such a high profile position
She polled 104 votes from a 160-member organization to beat her closest rival, South Korean trade minister Yoo Myung-hee..
The announcement comes as a huge boost for Africa and lines her up for one of the toughest jobs in the international system.
A panel at the WTO recommended her today for the position.
Finally! Nigeria's Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala becomes the first African to head the World Trade Organization. Congratulations Nigeria. pic.twitter.com/3QM9xEut22
— Senator Dino Melaye. (SDM) (@dino_melaye) October 28, 2020
Ngozi Iweala will have to lead the charge for a revival of multilateralism, in the negotiating chambers of the WTO and for a better deal for developing economies, as well as for the practical matter of how reforming trade and patent rules can allow the distribution of life-saving vaccines and therapeutics as the coronavirus pandemic rips across the world on its second wave.
As the first woman and African to head the Organization, 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.
The job of WTO Director became vacant after her predecessor, Brazils’s Rovert Azevedo quit the position early after two long years of frustration in negotiations on reforming the organization