Ngozi Okonjo Iweala Set To Lead WTO: Gets Backing From Panel

The candidacy of foremost Nigerian economist and international development expert for the topmost spot of the World Trade Organization has received a big boost.

Amid top personalities and organisations who had given the finance guru support for the World Trade Organization top spot, yesterday October 27 Wednesday reached a deep roadblock after the Trump administration stated it won’t back the appointment of Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala to be the WTO’s next director-general, giving support to South Korea’s trade minister instead.

In a statement critical of the WTO, the Office of the US Trade Representative, which advises President Donald Trump on trade policy, said the organisation “must be led by someone with real, hands-on experience in the field”, BBC reports.

Ms Yoo had “distinguished herself” as a trade expert and “has all the skills necessary to be an effective leader of the organisation”, the statement said.

It added: “This is a very difficult time for the WTO and international trade. There have been no multilateral tariff negotiations in 25 years, the dispute settlement system has gotten out of control, and too few members fulfill basic transparency obligations. The WTO is badly in need of major reform.”

The statement did not mention Ms Okonjo-Iweala, the site reports.

Although the U.S. could not support a consensus decision to appoint Okonjo-Iweala, a top WTO official said work would continue to reach a consensus ahead of meeting of the General Council tentatively set for Nov. 9.

However, the two time Nigeria’s former finance minister, also received a key endorsement Wednesday from the WTO selection committee, which moved her a step closer to becoming the WTO’s first female director-general and the first black to hold the esteemed position since the body started 25 years ago.

According to Reuters, a group of ambassadors also known as “troika” who hold significant powers has proposed Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala to lead the WTO.

Nigeria’s Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala vs South Korea trade minister Yoo Myung-hee is set to take the title. Although news has it that Iweala has clinched the title, there has been no official word yet from the WTO.

Iweala sits on the Boards of Standard Chartered Bank, Twitter, Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization, and the African Risk Capacity. The former Nigerian minister also held several key positions at the World Bank, Including Managing Director.

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