In now viral news, the World Trade Organisation is about to unveil it’s new director-general as the current administration of Roberto Azevêdo bows out.
Roberto Azevêdo of Brazil has been the DG of WTO since 1 September 2013.
World Trade Organisation is made up of member states and matters of policy are usually carried out by the decisions of the member states. The Director-General is not very powerful in this regard as the primary duty of the DG is advisory and managerial.
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is not alone in the race to become the DG of WTO, Yoo Myung-hee of South Korea is a very close contender. Yoo is the current minister of Trade of South Korea and is the first woman to hold such a position. She has worked in various government agencies for over 25 years.
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala who is a citizen of Nigeria and the United States of America was renowned for her excellent service in a 25-year career at the World Bank in Washington DC. She rose to the position of Managing Director before serving as Nigeria’s finance minister and also Minister of Foreign Affairs.
During Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala’s tenure, she led negotiations with the Paris Club which led to the wiping out of US$30 billion of Nigeria’s debt and this also includes the outright cancellation of US$18 billion.
As Roberto’s tenure has come to an end, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala seems to be the most qualified replacement. In a tweet, WTO had announced
“After the meeting WTO spokesperson Keith Rockwell summed up the announcement by GC Chair Walker: “The candidate that had the best chance of attaining a consensus of the membership is Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala of Nigeria. Consultations on the way fwd will start immediately”, he said”
After the meeting WTO spokesperson Keith Rockwell summed up the announcement by GC Chair Walker: “The candidate that had the best chance of attaining a consensus of the membership is Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala of Nigeria. Consultations on the way fwd will start immediately", he said— WTO (@wto) October 28, 2020
However, news has been going around that the United States of America is opposed to Ngozi’s emergence as the DG. Although she is an American citizen, she is seen as a Nigerian because of her active involvement.
While Ngozi has the backing of many African countries and that of the European Union, she is reportedly viewed by Trump’s administration as not committed enough to their interest.
In a Bloomberg report, while the position of China, Brazil, India and some other economies remain unclear, the U.S. and Europe are heading for a clash over their preferred candidates to lead the World Trade Organisation. A woman will lead the WTO this time but the question had remained, which woman?
As the EU is leaning towards Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the U.S. as believed by observers seems to be leaning towards South Korea’s Yoo Myung-hee. The hope of U.S. in seeing Yoo emerge may have been dashed by the recent announcement of WTO although Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is yet to be announced.
The Trump administrations backing of Yoo Myung-hee against its citizen, Ngozi Okonjo-Iwela cannot be said not to be connected to President Trump’s allegation that WTO is a tool for globalists who allowed China’s economic rise to go unchecked.
We keep our fingers crossed as we await the official announcement from WTO who emerges as the DG. It could have a political twist that will take us unawares or it could be what we have expected all this while.
In a recent development, Wikipedia Encyclopedia has been updated to list Ngozi Okonjo-Iwela as the new DG of WTO and the successor of Roberto Carvalho