Tue. Aug 3rd, 2021

Okonjo-Iweala gets US backing to lead WTO

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BY Victoria Ogunrinde

Nigeria’s Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala on Friday got a “strong support” of the President Joe Biden’s administration to lead the World Trade Organisation WTO, AFP reports.

The move marks another sharp split with former President Donald Trump who paralysed the organisation and opposed the former Nigerian finance minister who was backed by many other countries.

The US Trade Representative in a statement cited her “wealth of knowledge in economics and international diplomacy” and said she had “proven experience managing a large international organization.”

Recalled that early Friday the South Korean Trade Minister Yoo Myung-hee, Okonjo-Iweala’s sole opponent in the race for the top job, withdrew her bid to lead the WTO leaving the former Nigerian Finance Minister as the only remaining candidate for the job.

Yoo was said made the decision after discussions with the United States and other major nations, and took various issues into account “comprehensively” including the need to revitalize the multilateral organization, according to a statement from Korea’s trade ministry on Friday.

All along the selection process which started mid last year, the 66-year-old former minister had said she remained positive of becoming the first African and first female director-general in the 25-year history of the WTO despite ‘hiccups’.

Okonjo-Iweala serves on Twitter’s board of directors, as chair of the GAVI vaccine alliance as well as a special envoy for the World Health Organisation’s COVID-19 fight.

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