EYEAFRICA TV: Lagos, NIGERIA:- Leaders around the world have congratulated Nigeria’s Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala as she is appointed as the next World Trade Organization (WTO) Director-General.
Dr. Okonjo-Iweala makes history as the first woman and the first African to ever lead the WTO.
WTO members took the decision to appoint Dr. Okonjo-Iweala at a special meeting of the General Council, following a selection process that included eight candidates from around the world.
The 66-year-old’s appointment came following the last remaining rival candidate, South Korean trade minister Yoo Myung-hee, withdrew from the race. She will take up her post on March 1, initially for a term that runs until August 2025.
An economist and former finance minister of Nigeria, Okonjo-Iweala enjoyed broad support from WTO members including the European Union, China, Japan and Australia. The United States, under the Trump administration, had favored Yoo.
First to congratulate her was Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari saying: ”I believe her track record of integrity, diligence and passion for development will continue to yield positive results and rewards to mankind, and that she will validate the global mandate of repositioning and strengthening the WTO for the greater good of all.”
Christine Legarde, President of European Central Bank and former head of IMF followed: “Congratulations to my friend Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala on becoming the first female Director-General of the WTO.
“I’ve known Ngozi for many years. Her strong will and determination will drive her to tirelessly promote free trade to the benefit of people worldwide.”
Franck Riester, France’s Minister Delegate for Foreign Trade and Economic Attractiveness, described her appointment as historic. He said: “A historic day for WTO, with Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala as first woman and first African DG! France will support her to lead the reform the WTO needs.”
“My warmest congratulations to Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala on her historic election as the first African and the first woman Director-General of the WTO. I am confident that under her leadership we will be able to advance our shared goal of a more prosperous multilateral trade system,” Qatar’s UN Ambassador in Geneva, Ali Almansouri said.