Nigeria’s Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has been appointed as the Director-General of the World Trade Organisation.
The official announcement was made by the global trade body via social media, as it tweeted, “BREAKING: Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala from Nigeria is appointed as the next WTO Director-General. Dr. Okonjo-Iweala makes history as the first woman and the first African to lead the WTO. Her term starts on the 1st of March 2021.”
BREAKING: Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala from Nigeria is appointed as the next WTO Director-General.
Dr. Okonjo-Iweala makes history as the first woman and the first African to lead the WTO.
Her term starts on the 1st of March 2021.
— WTO (@wto) February 15, 2021
66-year-old Okonjo-Iweala, by her appointment, becomes the first woman to ever lead the Switzerland-based institution and the first African citizen to take on the role.
President Muhammadu Buhari who has on a number of occasions shown his support for Okonjo-Iweala getting the role has taken to social media to felicitate with her.
In a statement released by the President’s media aide, Garba Shehu, the President said, “On behalf of the Federal Government and all Nigerians, President @MBuhari warmly felicitates with former Minister of Finance and Economy, Dr @NOIweala on her election as Director General of the World Trade Organisation @wto, bringing joy and more honour to the country.”
In case you missed it
- It would be recalled that the Donald Trump administration had preferred South Korea’s Yoo Myung-hee, even though Okonjo-Iweala got the nod from the majority of WTO members. The opposition halted the selection process because WTO decisions are made on the basis of a consensus of its members.
- A ray of hope however came when the Okonjo-Iweala’s top rival, Myung-hee pulled out of the race and then, the new US government backing her for the top role.
What you should know
- Okonjo-Iweala is the first woman to take on the Nigerian finance ministry (under President Olusegun Obasanjo and President Goodluck Jonathan) and the foreign ministry.
- She was also the first female to run for the World Bank presidency, where she spent 25 years.
- Okonjo-Iweala serves on Twitter’s board of directors, as chair of the GAVI vaccine alliance as well as a special envoy for the World Health Organisation’s COVID-19 fight.
- Last December, Okonjo-Iweala was named the Forbes African of the Year, 2020.