Okonjo Iweala Close to Becoming WTO DG as South Korea’s Candidate Drops Out of the Race

(Featured Image Ngozi Okonjo Iweala/Facebook)

Ngozi Okonjo Iweala from Nigeria is gradually becoming closer to becoming the Director General of the World Trade Organization (WTO) after the trade minister from South Korea, Yoo Myung-hee announces her decision to drop out of the race.

As Yoo Myung-Hee drops out of the race to becoming the Director General of the organization, this decision paves way for Okonji Iweala, who spent 25years at the World Bank as a development economist, rising to the position of managing director and served as the minister of finance in Nigeria is likely to become the Director General making her the first woman and African to lead the organization since it was created in 1995 .

Under the Trump administration, the United States, refused to accept Okonjo-Iweala and had favored Yoo, thereby complicating the decision-making process since the selection of a new leader requires all WTO members to agree.

Yoo said that her decision had been reached after “close consultation” with the United States. The WTO had been without a leader for too long.

“South Korea will actively contribute to reaching consensus for the next WTO chief and co-operate with her and participate in the WTO reform process,” Yoo added.

Okonjo-Iweala however, congratulated Yoo on her “long campaign” and welcomed South Korea’s commitment to rebuilding and enhancing multilateralism, her spokeswoman Molly Toomey said in a statement.

Okonjo-Iweala “looks forward to the conclusion of the director general selection process”, the spokesperson said. “The WTO must turn its focus to the Covid-19 pandemic and global economic recovery. Okonjo-Iweala is eager to focus on the many needed reforms at the WTO. She is humbled by the support she has received from WTO members and of champions in Nigeria and other parts of the world.”

The WTO has been without a director-general since Roberto Azevedo of Brazil, announced in May that he was leaving the job a year early, a move he cited as a “personal decision.” He left without a successor at the end of August after the WTO was caught in the middle of an escalating trade fight between the United States and China.

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