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WTO: Okonjo-Iweala reacts as US Government formally backs her as DG

Dr. Okonjo-Iweala has reacted as the US Government formally gave their backing to her candidature to lead the WTO.



WTO, Okonjo-Iweala joins South Africa's presidential economic advisory council as nation struggles with recession, Dr. Okonjo-Iweala officially declared candidate with the largest and broadest support among members

Nigeria’s former Finance Minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has reacted as the United States Government formally gave their backing of her candidature to lead the World Trade Organization (WTO).

This removes the final obstacle to her bid to be the first woman and first African to head the Geneva-based trade organization.

Okonjo-Iweala, in her reaction through a tweet post, expressed gratitude for the show of support from the United States in her bid as the DG of WTO. She congratulated her South Korean opponent, Yoo Myung-hee, for a hard-fought campaign.

READ: WTO: Selection of new DG might be tied to the upcoming US presidential election

The former Finance Minister also thanked President Muhammadu Buhari and all Nigerians for their unflinching support throughout the campaign.

Okonjo-Iweala in her tweet post said, “Grateful for the expression of support from the US today for DG of WTO, congratulations to Madam Yoo of the Republic of Korea for a hard-fought campaign. Thank you President Muhammadu Buhari and all Nigerians for your unflinching support. Thank you, friends. Love to my family. Glory to God.”

What the US Trade Representative is saying

The US Trade Representative (USTR), in a statement on Friday, said, “Dr. Okonjo-Iweala brings a wealth of knowledge in economics and international diplomacy. She is widely respected for her effective leadership and has proven experience managing a large international organization with a diverse membership.”

The USTR also added that it looked forward to working with a new WTO director-general to find paths forward to achieve necessary substantive and procedural reform of the WTO.

The decision of Joe Biden’s administration’s to support Okonjo-Iweala for the WTO job will be viewed in Geneva as a welcome shift in US support for the multilateral trading system following 4 years of criticisms against the trade organization by former President Donald Trump who previously described it as the worst trade deal the US ever signed.

With the US now joining a consensus, WTO general council Chairman, David Walker, is expected to soon announce a meeting in Geneva, where the organization’s members will formally approve Okonjo-Iweala’s appointment to a 4-year term as Director-General.

What the European Commission Trade Commissioner is saying

European Commission Trade Commissioner, Valdis Dombrovskis, expressed his delight in seeing strong US support for Okonjo-Iweala.

On his tweet post, he said, “Good to see strong US support for Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala to lead the World Trade Organization. She is the EU’s candidate of choice. Let’s now move forward with her appointment so we can give the necessary stability to WTO and start the much needed reform process.’

What you should know

  • The WTO has been without a leader since September, following the stepping down of Roberto Azevedo, who vacated the position a year before the completion of his term. Since then, the WTO has been overseen by four unelected deputy directors-general.
  • The WTO’s leadership-selection process got to a stalemate last year when the Trump administration vetoed Okonjo-Iweala’s candidacy and said it preferred her opponent, South Korean Trade Minister Yoo Myung-hee, despite the overwhelming support she got from other members.
  • That opposition was enough to halt the selection process because WTO decisions are made on the basis of a consensus of its 164 members.
  • The South Korean candidate, Yoo, formally announced her withdrawal from the contest on Friday following consultations with the Biden administration.
  • Okonjo-Iweala, who was a 2-time Finance Minister in Nigeria, was a former Managing Director of the World Bank.
  • The 66-year old economist, who was until recently a chair at the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization, has pledged to take a more active role as Director-General and to act as a sounding board to try to find common ground among the trade body’s disparate membership.

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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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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.



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.



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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