It is now official, the World Trade Organization has a new head, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. Nigeria’s Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala was formally appointed Monday to head the leading international trade body (WTO) as it seeks to resolve disagreements over how it decides cases involving billions in sales and thousands of jobs.
Okonjo-Iweala, 66, was appointed director-general of the World Trade Organization by representatives of the 164 member countries, according to a statement from the body on Monday 15th February, 2021.
Her appointment was earlier delayed because of Trump administration’s opposition but earlier this month, the Biden administration reversed Trump’s opposition and expressed “strong support’’ for Okonjo-Iweala. According to an official statement; she “brings a wealth of knowledge in economics and international diplomacy”.
Biden’s decision to support Okonjo-Iweala clearly show his administration’s broader agenda to choose more cooperative approaches to international problems rather than follow Trump’s “America First” approach.
This appointment is historic and very significant as she is the first African official and the first woman to hold the top WTO job. Prior to this appointment, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has served in many top oppositions internationally and in her home country, Nigeria. She was formerly Nigeria’s finance minister and spent 25 years at the World Bank, where she rose to the number-two position of managing director.
In her statement on Monday after her appointment was rectified, she said her first priority would be to quickly address the economic and health consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic and to “implement the policy responses we need to get the global economy going again.” According to the new WTO chief; “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.”
We wish Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala the best in her new position and anticipate great policies from her.