Finally, Okonjo-Iweala becomes WTO DG

Nigeria’s former Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has become the new Director-General of World Trade Organisation.

She was appointed after a special meeting of the general council.

He first task is to get the global economic wheel rolling again.

Okonjo-Iweala, in her maiden speech as the DG of WTO, said she would be working with members of the organisation to implement policies that would put the global economy on the path of growth.

Upon resumption on March 1, 2021, she will become the first woman and the first African to be chosen as DG of WTO. Her renewable term will expire on August 31, 2025.

WTO members took the decision to appoint her following a selection process that included eight candidates from around the world.

Speaking on her appointment, Okonjo-Iweala said a key priority for her would be to work with members to quickly address the economic and health consequences brought about by the Coronavirus Disease.

“I am honoured to have been selected by WTO members as WTO DG. A strong WTO is vital if we are to recover fully and rapidly from the devastation wrought by COVID-19. I look forward to working with members to shape and implement the policy responses we need to get the global economy going again.

“Our organisation faces many challenges, but working together we can collectively make the WTO stronger, more agile and better adapted to the realities of today,” she said.

General Council Chair, David Walker (New Zealand), who, together with co-facilitators, Amb. Dacio Castillo (Honduras) and Amb. Harald Aspelund (Iceland), led the nine-month DG selection process, also commented on the appointment.

“This is a very significant moment for the WTO. On behalf of the General Council, I extend our warmest congratulations to Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala on her appointment as the WTO’s next DG and formally welcome her to this General Council meeting.

“Dr. [Okonjo-Iweala], on behalf of all members, I wish to sincerely thank you for your graciousness in these exceptional months, and for your patience. We look forward to collaborating closely with you, and I am certain that all members will work with you constructively during your tenure as DG to shape the future of this organisation,” Walker stated.

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