World Trade Organization confirms Nigeria’s Dr Okojo-Iweala as first female, African Director General

Former Nigeria’s Finance Minister Dr Ngozi Okojo-Iweala has been appointed the new Director-Genaral for the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Dr Okojo-Iweala’s appointment makes her the first Woman and first African to hold the top position.

She is expected to formally start work effective on March 1, 2021.

In her acceptance speech on Monday, the former Minister for Foreign Affairs said that getting a trade deal at the next major ministerial meeting would be a “top priority”.

added that “There is a need for deep wide ranging reforms but the reforms will not be easy, because we also have an issue of lack of trust among members which has bulit up overtime, not just bewtween US and China, US and EU as many people thought, but also between Developing and Developed country members, and we need to work through that if we are to achieve the reforms”.

She also urged members to reject vaccine nationalism, according to a delegate attending the closed-door meeting and stress the need to address the issue on how recover fully and rapidly from devastating COVID-19 pandemic.

“I think first and foremost we need to focus on the issue of covid-19 and what WTO can do to contribute to solutions it need to work with WHO with all the organizations that are trying to accelerate supplies and vaccines to poor countries, the WTO can look at export ristrictions provisions from members on how it can lift them and be very transparent about them making them temporary so that there will a free flow of goods”.she said in a virual interview immediately after the confirmation”, she noted.

Ngozi, a two times finance minister in Nigeria and its first woman foreign minister, saw off eight rival candidates for the role.

Her four-year term expires in 2025 and subject to renewal.

Source: | Fahd Adam

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