Nigeria’s former Finance Minister, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has emerged the new Director-General of the World Trade Organisation after a victorious contest with South Korean rival Ms Yoo Myung-hee. Okonjo-Iweala’s victory is expected to be announced formally by the WTO later today.
Before she emerged winner, her eligibility as regards to the position was debated. For many, it was a matter of her citizenship and her nationality. Oppositionists played on her Nigerian nationality as reasons enough to make her unfit, forgetting that the former finance minister holds dual citizenship with Nigeria and the United States.
Okonjo-Iweala has spent most of her adult life working in the United States after arriving in the 1970s to attend Harvard University. She has also held outstanding roles at the World Bank for 25 years living in the Washington suburbs. She obtained American citizenship in 2019. And according to her spokeswoman, it’s not uncommon for international civil servants who spend long stretches working abroad to take second citizenship, especially when their families have been living overseas with them.
In the wake of the argument on her eligibility, Stuart Harbinson, former senior WTO official acknowledged that it is uncommon for such scenarios to play out. However, she stated that ultimately, the goal is to find the right candidate. And Okonjo-Iweala has emerged the winner.
Okonjo’s win is a win for women and Africa
The WTO deals with regulation of trade in goods, services and intellectual property between participating countries by providing a framework for negotiating trade agreements and a dispute resolution process for participating countries. From its inception 25 years ago, the global trade watchdog has never had a woman hold such a powerful position and definitely not African. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, emerging as the winner is a win for women globally and Africa as a whole.
Here are a few reactions:
Congrats to @NOIweala
Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala on her emergence as the WTO DG.
By this victory, she is the first woman and African to be elected as the Director General of the World Trade Organization. pic.twitter.com/l1v9UAw6AR
— Intel Region (@IntelRegion) October 28, 2020
— SirChuks (@occp1967) October 28, 2020
BREAKING NEWS! OKONJO IWEALA EMERGES NEW WTO DG…. confirmed
Nigeria greatest export
— Olushola Olufolabi (@olushola_shola) October 28, 2020
Okonjo-Iweala elected WTO DG
She polled 104 out of 164 to beat her South Korean rival. Congratulations !!!
— Ayekooto (@DeeOneAyekooto) October 28, 2020
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