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Economy & Politics

ECOWAS endorse Okonjo-Iweala as DG of the World Trade Organization

Since the creation of WTO, no African country has been appointed the DG of the organization.

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The West African Regional political and economic block, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), has announced the backing of the candidature of Nigeria’s former Finance Minister, Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, as the Director-General of World Trade Organization (WTO).

In a possible step towards uniting Africa behind her candidature, ECOWAS has called on other African countries to support her as well.

According to a press statement by Nigeria’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and signed by its spokesperson, Ferdinand Nwonye, ‘’The Minister of Foreign Affairs wishes to inform that the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government has endorsed the candidature of Dr, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala for the position of Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO) for the period 2021-2025.’’

READ MORE: AfCFTA delay: A bane to Africa’s $3.4 trillion economic bloc

‘’The ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government endorsed the candidature of Nigeria noting, her long years of managerial experience at the top echelon of multilateral institutions, her reputation as a fearless reformer, her excellent negotiating and political skills, her experience of over 30 years as a developmental economist with a long-standing interest in trade, her excellent academic qualification, her position as Managing Director World Bank, and currently as Board Chair, Gavi, and AU Special Ebnoy to mobilize financial resources for the fight against COVID-19.’’

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The regional body noted that since the creation of WTO on January 1, 1995, no African country has been appointed the Director-General of the organization.

The ECOWAS Chairman, who also doubles as the President of Niger Republic, in a signed document, asked other African and non-African countries to endorse her candidature.

READ MORE: ECOWAS backs Adewunmi Adesina’s re-election as AfDB’s President 

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Nairametrics had earlier reported the nomination of Okonjo-Iweala by President Muhammadu Buhari, as the head of WTO, following the announcement of the stepping down of the current Director-General of WTO, Roberto Azevedo, on August 2020, a year ahead of the end of his tenure.

However, Egypt, in an opposition to the move, asked that Nigeria’s nomination should be disqualified as it came after the nomination process has elapsed. Egypt claimed that the African Union Executive had set November 30, 2019, as the deadline for submission of nominees for African countries as against June that Nigeria submitted.

But the WTO, in a press statement said that the nomination period for the position actually opened on June 8, 2020, and should be ending on July 8, 2020.

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Chike Olisah is a graduate of accountancy with over 15 years working experience in the financial service sector. He has worked in research and marketing departments of three top commercial banks. Chike is a senior member of the Nairametrics Editorial Team. You may contact him via his email- [email protected]

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Economy & Politics

Governors to meet on Wednesday over rising insecurity

The governors of the 36 States of the federation will hold an emergency virtual meeting to discuss growing insecurity in the country.

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Oil Price Crash: Governors to meet on budgetary and economic issues, Insecurity: Governors to meet on Wednesday over rising insecurity

The Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF) has announced that the Governors of the 36 States will hold an emergency virtual meeting to discuss the recent killings and kidnappings by terrorist groups, and agree on a new national security plan to secure the lives of citizens.

This was disclosed in a statement by Head, Media and Public Affairs of the NGF, Mr Abdulrazaque Bello-Barkindo, on Monday in Abuja.

(READ MORE: Labour leaders reportedly walk-out on Ministers over fuel, electricity price hike)

The NGF disclosed in its statement that the Governors would also receive updates on the events following the disbandment of the SARS alongside the rising insecurity.

Other issues that will be discussed by the Governors include:

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  • CACOVID funding palliatives and updates across the states.
  • Joint meetings between the CBN and Kaduna State Governor, Nasir el-Rufai, on accessing pension funds to finance infrastructure development.
  • Updates on the ASUU strike. Issues related to Stamp Duty and the Water Resources Bill will also be discussed at the meeting.

What you should know 

There has been a rise in reported cases of kidnappings and killings by terrorists groups and bandits, especially in Northern Nigeria.

Nairametrics reported earlier that President Muhammadu Buhari had condemned the killing of farmers by Boko Haram on Saturday. The President added that the Federal Government had given the armed forces support to tackle insecurity in the country.

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Economy & Politics

Emefiele tells economists to stop “overdramatizing” analysis that can create Panic

CBN has assured that the nation’s economy will emerge out of recession in the first quarter of 2021.

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CBN health intervention fund gets new interest rate by March 2012, Nigerian banks’ non-performing loans drop significantly by 41% in 2019, External reserves decline by over 8% in 3 months, Nigeria’s external reserves increase by $1.36 billion in 13 days

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has assured that the nation’s economy will grow by 2% in 2021. The apex bank is optimistic that its various intervention will make Nigeria emerge out of recession in the first quarter of 2021.

This was disclosed by the Governor, CBN, Godwin Emefiele while delivering his keynote address at the 55th Annual Bankers Dinner of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN) in Lagos on Friday.

READ: Total credit to the economy rose to N19.54trillion – CBN Governor

What he is saying

He said, “We expect that growth in 2021 would attain 2.0 percent. It is important to insulate the economy from shocks that may undermine the attainment of the projected 2.0 percent economic growth.

However, downside risks remain, as restoration of full economic activities, particularly in service-related sectors, remains uncertain until a COVID vaccine is produced and made available to millions of people across the world.

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READ: Dark Clouds loom for investors as stocks fall 8% in first half of 2020

“Second, with the significant rise in cases in advanced markets and the imposition of lockdowns in parts of Europe, concerns remain on the impact this could have on growth in advanced economies, commodity prices and the financial markets.”

He emphasized on the need to find ways to insulate the economy from the impact of these shocks through diversification efforts, while also working to ensure that the nation adheres to safety protocols in order to prevent a surge in COVID-19 related cases, as this could further cripple economic activities.

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READ: CBN discloses how much has been disbursed from N50 billion COVID-19 intervention fund

Stop overdramatizing analysis

Emefiele appealed to economic analysts to stay clear from analysis that can create panic and thus hamper the economic recovery process. “When you overdramatized you create panic in the system and that slows down the process of recovery.

“Our actions in 2021 would be guided by the considerations that emerged from the Monetary Policy Committee meeting of November 23 & 24, 2020, which sought to address the major headwinds exerting downward pressure on output growth and upward pressure on domestic prices,” he added.

Mr. Emefiele has often accused “armchair” economists of making exaggerated comments when expressing their views on the economy.

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READ: Finance Minister gives reason FG approached China for $17 billion loan

What you need to know

On November 23, 2020, Nairametrics reported that the Minister for Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, said the country will exit recession by the first quarter of 2021 as the government is working towards reversing the declining economic trend in the country.

  • The Finance Minister said the COVID-19-induced recession followed the pattern across the world, where many countries had entered an economic recession.

READ: Nigerian economy going into recession, might contract by -8.9% – Finance Minister

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Economy & Politics

Nigeria edges closer to getting World Bank loan, in the final stages of talk

The Finance Minister has disclosed that Nigeria has fulfilled the conditions and is in the last stages of securing a World Bank loan.

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FG projects spending plan of N11.86 trillion and deficit of N5.16 trillion,IMF, International monetary fund, Zainab Ahmed, Nigeria's Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning

Nigeria is set to achieve its plans of getting the $1.5 billion World Bank loan package as it is in the closing stages of the deal following its fulfilment of the conditions set by the international multilateral organization.

This disclosure was made by the Minister for Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, during an interview on Friday, November 27, 2020, with Bloomberg Television.

While pointing out that Nigeria’s senate approved the borrowing plan from the World Bank in June, Ahmed said the board of the multilateral institution will discuss the loan package at their next meeting.

What you should know

It can be recalled that the World Bank loan which had been sought by Nigeria in the wake of the devastating impact of the coronavirus pandemic, was being delayed by the Brettonwood institution due to concerns over reforms as it feels that Nigeria has not shown enough commitment towards achieving them.

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Some of the reforms include the unification and flexibility of the exchange rate, removal of fuel subsidy, increase in electricity tariffs amongst others.

However, it seems that with the recent deregulation of the downstream sector of the oil industry with the attendant removal of fuel subsidy and increase in electricity tariff, some of those concerns of the World Bank are gradually being sorted out.

Ahmed also said that Nigeria is considering joining the G-20 debt-relief initiative and is talking to commercial lenders to secure their backing.

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She said, “We will consider joining as long as it is safe for us to do so. Nigeria couldn’t participate initially because some of the conditions were unfavourable for existing loan commitments with bilateral lenders and other international borrowings.”

On the increased gap between the official rate and parallel market rate, the minister said the government is concerned about the widening gap in the naira’s exchange rate on the official and parallel markets.

She said, “We have been taking measures to close the gap. We hope to get to an even level very soon so the impact of the exchange rate will become moderated.”

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