Okonjo-Iweala to resume March 1
Nigerian Economist, Ngozi Okonjo Iweala has been appointed as the new Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO) after a special meeting of the general council.
According to the WTO, WTO members took the decision to appoint Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala at a special meeting of the General Council, following a selection process that included eight candidates from around the world.
This makes Okonjo-Iweala the first female and black person to ever hold the position since the WTO founding 26 years ago.
Upon resumption on 1 March, Dr. Okonjo-Iweala will become the first woman and the first African to be chosen as Director-General. Her term, renewable, will expire on 31 August 2025.
“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 Director-General and formally welcome her to this General Council meeting,” said General Council Chair David Walker of New Zealand who, together with co-facilitators Amb. Dacio Castillo (Honduras) and Amb. Harald Aspelund (Iceland) led the nine-month DG selection process.
“Dr. Ngozi, 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, Dr Ngozi, and I am certain that all members will work with you constructively during your tenure as Director-General to shape the future of this organization,” he added.
Reacting to the development, 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 COVID-19 pandemic.
“I am honoured to have been selected by WTO members as WTO Director-General,”
“A strong WTO is vital if we are to recover fully and rapidly from the devastation wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic. I look forward to working with members to shape and implement the policy responses we need to get the global economy going again. Our organization faces a great many challenges but by working together we can collectively make the WTO stronger, more agile, and better adapted to the realities of today. She said.