Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Nigeria’s former minister of finance, has been appointed as the Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
Okonjo-Iweala’s appointment was announced on Monday by the Geneva-based organisation.
She becomes the first woman and African to lead the WTO
“Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala from Nigeria is appointed as the next WTO Director-General. Dr Okonjo-Iweala makes history as the first woman and the first African to lead the WTO,” the WTO announced on Twitter.
“Her term starts on the 1st of March 2021.
“WTO members took the decision to appoint @NOIweala at a special meeting of the General Council, following a selection process that included eight candidates from around the world.”
BREAKING: Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala from Nigeria is appointed as the next WTO Director-General.
Dr. Okonjo-Iweala makes history as the first woman and the first African to lead the WTO.
Her term starts on the 1st of March 2021.
— WTO (@wto) February 15, 2021
All WTO member countries except the United States, had voted Okonjo-Iweala as their preferred candidate in 2020.
The US said it favoured her opponent; South Korea’s Yoo Myung-hee, because the WTO needs someone with real, hands-on experience in the field.
During the candidates’ presentation stage, Egypt had also kicked against Okonjo-Iweala’s nomination.
Egypt and the African Union’s Office of Legal Counsel had claimed that Okonjo-Iweala’s nomination violated the candidature guidelines provided by the AU.
The former Nigerian minister emerged from a shortlist of five candidates selected from a pool of eight candidates.