Browsing: World Trade Organization

Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is no stranger to firsts and landmarks. Prior to being appointed the DG of the WTO, she had completed a cumulative seven-year tenure as the Nigerian Finance Minister under the Obasanjo and Jonathan administrations. She also, at a time, served as the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the first woman in her country to occupy these two demanding roles.

“I am very pleased to announce the appointment of four new Deputy Directors-General at the WTO. It is the first time in the history of our organization that half of the DDGs are women. This underscores my commitment to strengthening our organization with talented leaders whilst at the same time achieving gender balance in senior positions. I look forward to welcoming them to the WTO,” DG Okonjo-Iweala said.

Under Articles 15-19 of its procedures, WTO chooses its DG by consensus. The General Council has now decided that a final decision will be taken on December 9, after a week of further negotiations with the United States. If that fails, the body will have no option but to activate Article 20 which talks about “recourse to voting as a last resort.” This gives us confidence and hope.

So much has been said and written about the person of Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. She is one of the most popular women in Africa today and there are good reasons for that. This is not just due to her previous political appointments as two-time Minister of Finance and one-time Minister of Foreign Affairs of the largest and most populous black nation on earth, and we cannot equally say this is only because of her record as the Managing Director of the World Bank.