China hails Nigeria's Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala appointment as new WTO chief

  • China hails Nigeria's Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala appointment as new WTO chief

China hails Nigeria's Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala appointment as new WTO chief

She returned to the country in 2003 to serve as finance minister and backers point to her hard-nosed negotiating skills that helped seal a deal to cancel billions of dollars of Nigerian debt with the Paris Club of creditor nations in 2005.

Nigerian economist Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala was appointed Monday to head the World Trade Organization, becoming the first woman and first African to take on the role amid rising protectionism and disagreement over how the body decides cases involving billions in sales and thousands of jobs.

The ministry indicated that the decision to withdraw Ms Myung-hee's candidacy was made in order for "the member countries of the organisation to reach the consensus" necessary for the approval of the new head of the WTO, as well as the "need for the early resumption of work" of this worldwide body.

The new director general "possesses the combination of political leadership and technical capacity that are fundamental to address the challenges facing the WTO and the multilateral trading system today", the Brazilian Foreign Affairs Ministry said in a statement.

Although she hold U.S. citizenship, na for di eastern region of Nigeria dem born Okonjo-Iweala, and she no dey shame to wear her native attire - even for official work.

"A strong WTO is vital if we are to recover fully and rapidly from the devastation wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic. I look forward to working with members to shape and implement the policy responses we need to get the global economy going again", Okonjo-Iweala said.

She also expressed willingness to make the WTO stronger, adding that the organisation would adapt to realities of the day.

There is also a fragile issue of determining whether the US broke WTO rules when the Trump administration, citing national security concerns, unilaterally boosted tariffs on steel and aluminum in 2018, Politico reports.

The eight candidates were meant to have been whittled down to one by November, but former United States president Donald Trump's administration stood alone in blocking the consensus around Okonjo-Iweala.

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"She was not chosen because she is female or because she is from Africa, but because. she stood out as the candidate with the best qualifications, experience and qualities for the daunting task", a Western diplomat told AFP.

"This is the jewel in the crown of the WTO, and we really need to restore it", she said.

"[She] brings a wealth of knowledge in economics and worldwide diplomacy from her 25 years with the World Bank and two terms as Nigerian Finance Minister", the February 5 statement read. "She has all the skills necessary to be an effective leader of the organization", the USA trade representative had said.

Okonjo-Iweala, an economist whose background is in worldwide development, rose to become managing director of the World Bank.

Despite her time spent in the USA and indeed her dual U.S.

Speaking at her first press briefing as the incoming WTO DG, Okonjo-Iweala said she had two interviews with the Trump admin and there was no indication of opposition.

Minister O'Connor also congratulated Korea's Minister for Trade, Yoo Myung-hee, on her candidacy, and acknowledged her withdrawal from the race in order to facilitate consensus. "That delegation was the United States".

Okonjo-Iweala will take office from 1 March 2021 to 31 August 2025. When she joins the WTO's Geneva lakeside headquarters, her portrait is set to be hung beside others of men, mostly white and from rich countries.