The withdrawal of the South Korean World Trade Organisation(WTO) Director-General candidate, Trade Minister Yoo Myung-hee, has gridlocked the chances of Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Nigeria’s candidate, emerging the successor.
On the 28th of October, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala’s popular vote did not earn her the role of DG because the United States(US) opposed her candidacy by supporting the South Korean candidate. The implication of South Korea’s withdrawal is that Okonjo-Iweala now stands a higher chance of selection for the position of WTO Director-General, regardless of the US opposition. This is in line with her already garnered support from the selection panel at the final round and members from all levels and geographic regions.
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is the former Finance Prime Minister of Nigeria, and occupying the role of WTO Director-General would make her a true trailblazer as she would not only be the first African but the first woman to lead the World Trade Organisation. According to a Voice of Africa report, her occupying this role would ensure a better representation of Africans within the WTO.
The same report quoted Eze Onyekpere, an economic analyst and head of the Centre of Social Justice, who expressed certainty that the Okonjo-Iweala’s role as the Director-General of WTO would increase the awareness of African nations on issues like trade negotiations, requirements and opportunities.
Born in 1954, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has acquired more than 30 years of development and financial expertise which makes her more than adequate for the role of World Trade Organisation Director-General. Okonjo-Iweala graduated with an A.B. magna cum laude in Economics from Havard University and holds a PhD in Regional Economics and Development from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In 2006 she served as Foreign Affairs Minister and has not only served two terms as the Finance Minister of Nigeria but has also functioned as the Managing Director of World Bank. She began her role as the Board Chair of Gavi, the Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance in 2016 and also sits on the boards of the Rockefeller Foundation and the Centre for Global Development, amongst others.
According to a Vanguard report, the next general council meeting to consider the appointment of the next Director-General of the World Trade Organisation has been scheduled for December 17th.