After close to six months of being without a leader, the World Trade Organization (WTO) made history today, February 15, 2021, after selecting Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala as its new Director General. The decision to select the Nigerian was reached after the General Council of the organization agreed by consensus to allow her take the wheel in driving global trade.
Set to assume office on March 1, the economist and development expert also made history as the first African and first woman to lead the WTO. Her term which is renewable will expire on August 31, 2025.
New Zealand’s David Waker who is the Chair of the General Council congratulated the former Nigerian finance minister and hailed her for exercising patience throughout the long selection process.
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…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
Dr. Ngozi while reacting to the news disclosed that a key priority for her office is addressing the challenges caused by the corona virus 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 working together we can collectively make the WTO stronger, more agile and better adapted to the realities of today
Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala
Featured Image Source: WTO