Okonjo-Iweala Emerges First Female DG of WTO
Nigeria’s former finance minister and a former managing director of the World Bank, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has emerged as the first female Director-General of the World Trade Organization(WTO).
Okonjo-Iweala emerged as the first African and the first female to attain the position of DG of WTO by emerging as the finalist after eliminating South Korea’s current trade Minister, Yoo Myung-hee in a fierce battle for the coveted job on Monday night.
Diplomatic sources confided in The New Diplomat that an official announcement to this effect would be formally made today by New Zealand’s Ambassador Walker’s led WTO General Council.
The race for the coveted job of DG of WTO has been fierce with Nigeria’s Okonjo-Iweala and South Korea’s serving Trade Minister, Yoo Myung-hee, running neck-and-neck in the intense jostle and game of global diplomatic intrigues.
Indications had emerged that influential global trading countries including the United States(US), the European Union(EU) nations, China, Japan and the BRICS countries were strongly divided on who should be the candidate to lead the WTO.
High-level sources confided in The New Diplomat’s Europe’s outpost operations that it “took serious negotiations and prolonged talks to get China to go along with Nigeria with its decision to support Okonjo-Iweala.” China controls about 12.4% of the global trade.
The influence of the United States on global trade is reportedly huge as well given that it single-handedly controls about 12% of global trade just as China holds about 12.4% of the global trade statistics.
Diplomatic sources hinted that East Asia countries with the exception of China went along with Myung-hee in preference. These include Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Macay, Mongolia and South Korea. Japan, a US ally is another strong international player in global trade with an estimated $705.7 billion worth of goods globally in 2020.
However, on Okonjo-Iweala’s side apart from the EU and 55 AU nations were 24 solid ACP countries that reportedly expressed preference for her candidacy. The CP countries in this regard include Bahamas, Cuba, Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Dominica Republic, Dominica, Greneda, Fiji, Cook Islands, Solomon Islands, Timor-Lester, Parpua New Guinea, etc.
Okonjo-Iweala, 66, served as Nigeria’s first female finance and later foreign minister, and has a 25-year career behind her as a development economist and international finance expert at the World Bank, eventually becoming its number two. She is also on Twitter’s board of directors and is a special envoy for the World Health Organization’s COVID-19 fight.