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Around the World

U.S. backs Okonjo-Iweala for next WTO Director-General

The endorsement from the Joe Biden Administration was the last obstacle standing the way of the highly revered Nigerian economist. 

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Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, World Bank, Davos, World Economic Forum, WTO accepts nomination of Okonjo-Iweala as DG despite opposition from Egypt,WTO:  Happy to be in final rounds of DG Campaign- Okonjo Iweala

The U.S government has backed Nigeria’s former finance minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala as the next director-general of the World Trade Organization, shortly after her rival South Korea’s trade minister pulled out of the race.

In a report credited to Wall Street Journal, the endorsement from the Joe Biden Administration was the last obstacle standing in the way of the highly revered Nigerian economist.

Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala has already been approved by the majority of WTO members, but the Trump Presidency had earlier preferred Ms. Yoo, saying she was a better fit for the job.

READ: Okonjo-Iweala emerges sole candidate in WTO DG race, as Myung-hee withdraws

In a statement, the U.S. Trade Representative’s office said that Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala “brings a wealth of knowledge in economics and international diplomacy from her 25 years with the World Bank and two terms as Nigerian Finance Minister.

“It is particularly important to underscore that two highly qualified women made it to the final round of consideration for the position of WTO Director-General—the first time that any woman has made it to this stage in the history of the institution.”

Such endorsement from the Joe Biden administration on Okonjo-Iweala’s candidature has been seen by many economic pundits as a welcome shift in the United States support for the multilateral trading system following four years of an aggressive attitude against an organization that former President Trump previously called the worst trade deal America ever signed.

READ: This is what Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is up against

The Top African Union Covid-19 Representative acknowledge the amazing endorsement  via her Twitter handle saying,

“Grateful for the expression of support from the US today for DG. Congratulations to Madam Yoo of Rep. Korea for a hard-fought campaign.Thank You.President Muhammadu Buhari & all Nigerians for your unflinching support. Thank you, friends. Love to my family.Glory to God.”

READ: WTO: US opposing consensus to declare Okonjo-Iweala as DG – Foreign Affairs Ministry

  • Recall, a group of ambassadors also known as “troika” proposed Okonjo-Iweala to lead the WTO giving her a clear path to becoming the first woman to head the WTO since it started 25 years ago. The three ambassadors are thought to wield significant powers in determining what is a very “intricate and opaque” process.
  • The announcement of Okonjo-Iweala had earlier gotten the support of a vast majority of member states, including the EU, Japan, and China, as the new boss of the World Trade Organization, would have been a huge boost for Africa.

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Olumide Adesina is a France-born Nigerian. He is a Certified Investment Trader, with more than 15 years of working expertise in Investment trading. Follow Olumide on Twitter @tokunboadesina. He is a Member of the Chartered Financial Analyst Society.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Isaac

    February 17, 2021 at 9:23 am

    Interesting and exciting. Sadly, Nigeria did not give consideration to the Deputy Director General (Ambassador (Dr.) Yonov F. AGAH) who is well grounded in WTO. Thinking out of the box, Dr. Okonjo-Iweala would have served better at ECA (Economic Commission for Africa where she would express her talents in Policy Making and Institutional Reforms. Nigerians should open their hearts and minds to the larger picture, where our people could have had two (2) positions in the United Nations rather than one (1) based on sentiments of being Ibo, Hausa, Ijaw or Kanuri. We are missing a lot!

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Around the World

Covid-19: US economy grappling with 10 million job losses, adds 379,000 jobs in February 

The Covid-19 pandemic has led to the mandatory lockdown of major businesses and factories in the US.

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The World’s biggest economy is grappling with the loss of 10 million jobs due to the Covid-19.

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the mandatory lockdown of major businesses and factories in the country. This meant downsizing for most companies who could not continue paying salaries with no incoming revenue

According to the Nasdaq, the unemployment rate in the United States economy was at its highest in April last year, reaching a record high of 14.7%. The unemployment rate dropped to 6% but that is still a significant number.

According to CNN, the US economy added 379,000 Jobs in February this year. This is a clear sign of the world biggest economy getting back on track. Although the US economy is still missing around 9.5 million jobs since the beginning of Covid-19.

Biggest losers 

According to Nasdaq, the most affected industries in the Covid 19 economic decline is the Hospitality and Outdoor industry. Hotels and restaurant workers were mostly put out of jobs. They also fall into a category regarded as the long-term unemployment category. This category is used to define those who have been without a job for 27 weeks.

Big government to the rescue 

The United States government has rolled out the following packages to cushion the effect of the Covid 19:

  • The Joe Biden Administration has postulated a 1.9 trillion Covid Relief Package for Americans. The Bill made it through a house vote and now needs to pass the senate-house too.
  • Jobless American workers will be entitled to an extra $400 a week.
  • The Joe Biden new relief bill will also contain a $1,400 stimulus check for citizens.

 What to know 

  • The US economy is gradually shifting to the post-Covid-19 era adding 379,000 jobs in February alone. It added a paltry 166,000 jobs in January.
  • The United States major economic rival China is already in the post-Covid-19 era, the only major economic country in the post-Covid-19 era.

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Around the World

Jack Dorsey’s Square set to acquire majority stake in Jay Z’s Tidal for $297 million

Jack Dorsey’s company, Square set to acquire Tidal, the streaming music service owned by Jay-Z for a $297 million deal.

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Square, the mobile payments company owned by Jack Dorsey, announced on Thursday its plan to acquire a “significant majority” of Tidal, the streaming music service owned by Hip-hop music mogul, Jay-Z.

Square said it expects to pay $297 million, in a combination of cash and stock, for a stake in Tidal. Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter will join Square’s board, subject to the closing of the transaction while Tidal will operate independently within Square.

Existing artist shareholders will still remain stakeholders. Other Tidal artist-owners include Beyoncé, Alicia Keys, Coldplay’s Chris Martin, Kanye West, Madonna, Nicki Minaj, and Rihanna.

In a tweet made by Jay-Z today, he highlighted that “from the beginning that TIDAL was about more than just streaming music, and six years later, it has remained a platform that supports artists at every point in their careers. Artists deserve better tools to assist them in their creative journey.”

He also commented that “Jack is one of the greatest minds of our times, and our many discussions about TIDAL’s endless possibilities have made me even more inspired about its future. This shared vision makes me even more excited to join the Square board.

“This partnership will be a game-changer for many. I look forward to all this new chapter has to offer!”

Jack Dorsey, who is CEO of both Square and Twitter, also commented on this deal “comes down to one simple idea: finding new ways for artists to support their work.”

“New ideas are found at intersections, and we believe there’s a compelling one between music and the economy. I knew Tidal was something special as soon as I experienced it, and it will continue to be the best home for music, musicians, and culture.”

Jesse Dorogusker, a Square executive will lead Tidal on an interim basis. He added that Square will offer financial tools to help Tidal’s artists collect revenue and manage their finances. “There are other tools they need to be successful and that we’re going to build for them,”.

What you should know

  • Last month, Jack Dorsey and Jay-Z announced a Bitcoin fund focused on developing the cryptocurrency’s adoption in Africa and India.
  • In 2017, Sprint bought a 33% stake in Tidal. This week, Jay-Z bought back those shares from T-Mobile (which acquired Sprint).
  • Last month, Jay-Z announced that he would sell 50 percent of his champagne company, Armand de Brignac — better known as Ace of Spades — to LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton amid a downturn in the entertainment industry caused by the pandemic that has affected some of Jay-Z’s holdings.

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