"> Okonjo-Iweala Appointed as WTO DG - Sahel Standard
March 5, 2021
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Okonjo-Iweala Appointed as WTO DG

A former minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has been appointed as the Director-General of the World Trade Organisation, becoming the first woman and first African to hold the position.

The announcement of her appointment was made on Monday via a tweet by the World Trade Organisation. Her tenure begins March 1.

The tweet reads: “Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala from Nigeria is appointed as the next WTO Director-General. Dr. Okonjo-Iweala makes history as the first woman and the first African to lead the WTO. Her term starts on the 1st of March 2021.

“WTO members took the decision to appoint @NOIweala at a special meeting of the General Council, following a selection process that included eight candidates from around the world #WTODG.”

Recall that Dr Okonjo-Iweala had, a few days ago, received the backing of the administration of US President Joe Biden for the role.

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.”

The coast became clear for the former Nigerian minister when her major contender, a Chinese, withdrew from the contest, leaving her as the only contestant.

A brief background

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, born on 13th June 1954, is a Nigerian-American economist and international development expert.

She is an indigene of Delta State, South-south Nigeria.

Dr Okonjo-Iweala is a board member of many international organisations/multinational organisations, including  the Boards of Standard Chartered Bank, Twitter, Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI), and the African Risk Capacity (ARC).

She served two terms as Finance Minister of Nigeria (2003–2006, 2011–2015) under President Olusegun Obasanjo and President Goodluck Jonathan respectively.

Okonjo was the first woman to become Finance Minister of Nigeria, and first woman to serve in that office twice. In 2005, Euromoney named her global finance minister of the year.

Previously, Okonjo-Iweala spent a 25-year career at the World Bank as a development economist, scaling the ranks to the Number 2 position of Managing Director, Operations (2007–2011).

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