List: 3 key tasks for Okonjo-Iweala as she makes history, becomes WTO's DG

List: 3 key tasks for Okonjo-Iweala as she makes history, becomes WTO's DG

- Okonjo-Iweala, Nigeria's ex-minister, has been confirmed as the new DG of the World Trade Organization

- The general council of the WTO met on Monday, February 15, to finalise the appointment days after the US supported the Nigerian

- The appointment process had earlier suffered some hiccups after the Trump administration refused to back Okonjo-Iweala for the top job

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Nigeria’s former finance minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has been confirmed on Monday, February 15, as the director-general of the World Trade Organization (WTO).

A brief statement by the WTO via its official Twitter page indicates that the General Council held a special meeting on Monday to finalise the appointment.

Okonjo-Iweala had emerged as the last-standing candidate vying for the top position following the withdrawal of her remaining major contender and South Korean trade minister.

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Okonjo-Iweala, Nigeria's former finance minister, set to make history as WTO's DG
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala in Geneva on July 15, 2020, following her hearing before WTO's 164 member states' representatives. Photo credit: FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP
Source: Getty Images

Okonjo-Iweala became the first woman and first African director-general of the WTO, three months after the Trump administration rejected her, Reuters noted. notes that the WTO completed the appointment process after the United States under the Joe Biden-led administration backed Okonjo-Iweala for the top job.

Top tasks ahead for Okonjo-Iweala

Reuters has listed three key tasks ahead for Okonjo-Iweala as WTO's director-general. Among others, the former minister will have to:

1. Broker international trade talks in the face of persistent US-China conflict

2. Respond to pressure to reform trade rules

3. Counter protectionism heightened by the COVID-19

Meanwhile, Okonjo-Iweala had also earlier reportedly said that one of her top priorities will be the contribution of trade to public health.

President Muhammadu Buhari had in October 2020 had vowed that his government would ensure victory for Okonjo-Iweala.

The Nigerian leader described Okonjo-Iweala as a round peg in a round hole for the position.

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President Buhari said:

“I assure you that we will do all that we can to ensure that you emerge as the director-general of WTO, not only because you are a Nigerian, but because you are a hardworking Nigerian. You deserve this."

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In another report, Okonjo-Iweala was named Forbes' Africa person of 2020. This was announced by the international magazine on Tuesday, December 1, 2020.

Reacting to the development, the former Nigerian minister noted that she was thrilled to follow in the footsteps of her African brothers like Paul Kagame, the president of the Republic of Rwanda and Akinwunmi Adesina, the head of the African Development Bank (AfDB).


Nurudeen Lawal is a journalist passionate about fact-checking/verification journalism. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Literature-in-English from Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State. As Politics Editor, Nurudeen mostly writes on Nigeria’s political and socio-economic developments. He has attended different workshops, conferences and training on fact-checking and digital reporting, among others. Learn more about him on Twitter, @Nurudeen Lawal_


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