BREAKING: It’s Official! Okonjo-Iweala Becomes First Female Director-General Of WTO

BREAKING: It’s Official! Okonjo-Iweala Becomes First Female Director-General Of WTO

By Senior Editor | The Trent on February 15, 2021
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Okonjo-Iweala world trade organisation wto
Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala pictured at the World Economic Forum in Davos Switzerland in June 2014 | Getty Images

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has been confirmed as the next Director-General of the World Trade Organisation, WTO, making her the first woman to ever occupy the position.

The former Finance Minister of Nigeria is expected to begin her tenure March 1, 2021.

The term, which is renewable, will expire on August 31, 2025.

“This is a very significant moment for the WTO,” said General Council Chair David Walker of New Zealand who, together with co-facilitators Amb. Dacio Castillo (Honduras) and Amb. Harald Aspelund (Iceland) led the nine-month DG selection process.

“On behalf of the General Council, I extend our warmest congratulations to Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala on her appointment as the WTO’s next Director-General and formally welcome her to this General Council meeting.

“Dr Ngozi, on behalf of all members I wish to sincerely thank you for your graciousness in these exceptional months, and for your patience. We look forward to collaborating closely with you, Dr Ngozi, and I am certain that all members will work with you constructively during your tenure as Director-General to shape the future of this organization.”

Quoted in a WTO statement, Dr Okonjo-Iweala said a key priority for her would be to work with members to quickly address the economic and health consequences brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.

She said: “I am honoured to have been selected by WTO members as WTO Director-General.

“A strong WTO is vital if we are to recover fully and rapidly from the devastation wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic. I look forward to working with members to shape and implement the policy responses we need to get the global economy going again. Our organization faces a great many challenges but working together we can collectively make the WTO stronger, more agile and better adapted to the realities of today.”

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