Nigeria’s former Finance Minister, Ngozi Okonji-Iweala has been recommended as the new Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
Ngozi has continued to break records from the first-ever woman director-general to the first African likely to occupy the WTO’s office. For the first time in its 25-year history, the World Trade Organization might be led by a woman and an African woman at that.
WTO announced at the beginning of October that South Korea’s trade minister Yoo Myung-hee and former Nigerian finance minister qualified as the two finalists to become the next director-general. Okonjo-Iweala gathered 104 votes from 164 member countries to defeat South Korea’s trade minister.
Ngozi takes the sit from former director-general Roberto Azevedo who faced constant pressure from the U.S. Government. The U.S. made an accusation of unfair treatment during his tenure.
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala was expected to be announced the winner today according to Bloomberg, the WTO has hit a major roadblock. The Trump administration has categorically said it will not back the appointment of Ngozi. This means the U.S. will act as a veto to disrupt the process.
If the general council cannot come to an agreement on a candidate, there’s a possibility of recourse to a vote as the last resort option. The U.S. trade representative Robert Lighthizer has pushed for South Korea’s trade minister Yoo Myung-hee.
If President Donald Trump wins the election which is set for next week, his administration plan to continue reshaping the WTO to resolve trade disputes.
Here’s an update from WTO:
The @WTO General Council Chair David Walker has reported today on the results of the consultations to appoint the next #WTODG. Members prepare way forward in selection process. pic.twitter.com/UpqblqN9ks
— WTO (@wto) October 28, 2020