Nigerian’s Ngozi Okonjo Iweala makes history

Nigeria’s Ngozi Okonjo Iweala has emerged the first female and African to head the World Trade Organisation.

Ngozi Okonjo Iweala is a Nigerian two time Minister of Finance who has an over 25 year career at the World Bank. She is an experienced development expert who sits on the board of Standard Chartered Bank, Twitter, Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization and the African Risk capacity (ARC). She was announced the new Director General of the WTO on 15th February 2021

Iweala was also Nigeria’s first female finance minister who served twice as Finance Minister twice; under two administrations; first under Olusegun Obasanjo (2003-2006) and Goodluck Jonathan  (2011-2015). In 2005, Euromoney named her global finance minister of the year.

Created in 1995 to help resolve trade disputes, formulate new rules, support and encourage the smooth flow of goods and services all over the world,  Dr. Iweala assumes leadership at a particularly difficult time for the organisation, a time when it is being accused by critics of falling short on several fonts and failing to advance new trade negotiations and regulate china’s unfair economic behavior crippling the organisation’s system for dispute settlement into disrepute. While acknowledging those challenges, Dr. Iweala mentioned how her leadership could help build a stronger, more relevant and more inclusive trading system.

Our organization faces a great many challenges but working together we can collectively make the W.T.O. stronger, more agile and better adapted to the realities of today.”

Dr. Iweala added that it is now the dawn of a new day, after a long a tough road filled with uncertainty, emphasizing that even though the challenges facing the WTO are numerous and tricky, they are not insurmountable.

Dr. Okonjo-Iweala will assume the post on March 1 for a renewable term expiring on Aug. 31, 2025.

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