- The Nigerian will become the first African to head the organization if she emerges victorious
Member states of the European Union (UN) which comprises of 27 nations, have backed the bid of Nigerian economist and former Finance Minister, Mrs. Ngozi Okonjo-Iwela, to become the next Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO). Ambassadors from the 27 EU member states which include; France, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, and Sweden, on Monday, the 26th of October, 2020, confirmed that the bloc will throw its full weight on the African candidate who is facing off against South Korea’s Trade Minister, Yoo Hyung-Hee, in the last round of the contest which will see the winner announced by November, 2020. Currently,106 out of the 164 nations that make up the WTO, have officially endorsed and placed their support on Okonjo-Iwela.
An EU official, during his speech, made known to the public that the decision to support Okonjo-Iwela, as the first African W. T. O Cheif, was “a strong signal to reinforce the multilateral order” and also “a clear signal, towards Africa, and a sign of mutual trust.” There was a briefing on the discussion on Monday, October 26, 2020, among the ambassadors of Latvia and Hungary, the last two countries in favor of Ms Yoo, and they have agreed to switch and join the majority in support of the former World Bank Director, Mrs. Ngozi Okonjo-Iwela. Among others, Okonjo-Iwela has won the support of the 55-member states African Union, a group of Caribbean and Pacific states, as well as some countries in Asia, the continent her opponent hails from.
Initially, the WTO’s top post, had a pool of eight (8) candidates, with three candidates from Africa (Nigeria, Kenya, Egypt), and one candidate each from the UK, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Mexico and Moldova, which after two rounds of consultations, has dwindled to just two candidates. The third and final round of consultation which will establish a consensus around one candidate, has ended as the globe awaits the “big announcement” by November. The new director-general will replace the organization’s former DG, Roberto Azevedo of Brazillian, who unexpectedly resigned in September, 2020. The Brazilian has held the post since 2013.
These are difficult times for the WTO, as its capacity to promote trade based on rules have been weakened by gaps in its rule book. This has been brought to light, by China’s capitalist model, and also the inclination of U.S president, Donald Trump, towards taking action against any form of ill treatment on US companies.
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