Nigeria’s former finance minister Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has been recommended to become the new Director-General (DG) of the World Trade Organisation (WTO). Reuters, a leading news agency gathered that a key group of WTO ambassadors proposed Okonjo-Iweala to lead the WTO, on Wednesday.
The recommendation of Okonjo-Iweala was made by three WTO ambassadors, the so-called “troika”, after consulting with members in a series of closed-door meetings in Geneva as part of an intricate and secretive process that some have compared to a papal succession, Reuters reported. But the recommendation still needs to be approved by consensus at a meeting of the WTO’s 164 members. The meeting will take place on Wednesday as the WTO may announce its new director-general at 3:00p.m. Nigerian time, with several signs moving towards Nigeria’s former finance minister after more than four months of consultations.
The European Union and African Union endorsed Okonjo-Iweala on Monday. However, three sources following the contest said that Washington had privately indicated a preference for Yoo, although it is unknown whether it would block Ngozi, Reuters reported. Many members such as China and the United States have declined to name their preference publicly although some African, Caribbean and other states have voiced support for Okonjo-Iweala.
Okonjo-Iweala was Nigeria’s first female finance minister and has a long career at the World Bank as a development economist. She will be the first Director-General from Africa and the first woman to lead the institution should her candidacy emerge at the end of consultations. But at the time of filing this story at about 3:10p.m. on Wednesday, the breaking news had it that Dr Okonjo-Iweala has emerged as new DG of the WTO.