After facing a tough selection process that included eight candidates from around the world, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala finally emerged as the next director-general of the World Trade Organization (WTO).
Nigeria’s former minister of finance was appointed following the decision that was taken at a special meeting of the General Council on Monday, February 15.
Okonjo-Iweala's appointment is a historic achievement as she is the first woman and first African to head the organization.
It would be recalled that the former minister secured the popular vote by a wide margin on October 28, 2020, but was not named DG because the US opposed her candidacy.
Fortunately, she became the only candidate vying for the position following the withdrawal of her major contender and South Korean trade minister, Yoo Myung-hee.
As congratulatory messages are pouring in, Legit.ng highlights some significant facts about the former minister's new job.
1. The position holds almost no formal power as it is primarily advisory and managerial.
2. Okonjo-Iweala is responsible for supervising and directing administrative operations of the organization.
3. She cannot single-handedly reform the organisation, force governments to take any specific action or even dictate the agenda.
4. The former minister's new position has an important role in advancing global trade and cooperation.
5. Despite little formal power, Okonjo-Iweala is the only person who can speak up for the WTO.
6. The difference between the success and failure in a negotiation can be the WTO director-general.
7. She can make discussions, debates and negotiations more inclusive and democratic.
Top tasks ahead for Okonjo-Iweala
Earlier, Legit.ng reported that Reuters listed top 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
Oluwatobi Bolashodun is a Legit.ng journalist with six years of working experience in the media industry. She graduated from Babcock University in 2012 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Mass Communication. Oluwatobi is a Current Affairs Editor, mostly writing on political, educational, and business topics. She uses her team spirit to encourage others to work hard.