ECOWAS declares support for Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala’s candidature of aspiring D-G of WTO

The authority of Heads of State and Government of Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has endorsed the candidature of Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala for the position of Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

In a communique signed by the ECOWAS Chairman, President Mahamadou Issofou of Niger, he entreated other African countries and non-African members to endorse her candidature.

Chairman of the General Council of WTO, Ambassador David Walker, announced that they have started the processes for the appointment of a new D-G. the opening date for nomination is June 8, 2020, and the closing date is July 8, 2020.

The Nigerian government has formally nominated Dr Okonjo-Iweala for the D-G position for the period 2021-2025.

If she is appointed the new D-G, Dr Okonjo-Iweala will be the first African to occupy that position since the WTO was created on January 1, 1995.

The WTO is a successor to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and established on January 1, 1948.

In the communique, Dr Okonjo-Iweala’s strong academic and professional background were mentioned. Her very long experience in national affairs as Nigeria’s Finance Minister (2003-2006 and 2011-2015) and Nigeria’s Foreign Affairs Minister briefly in 2006 were also mentioned.

It added the top positions she has occupied at multilateral institutions, her established reputation as a fearless reformer, her excellent negotiation, and political skills, her experience over 30 years as a development economist with a long standing interest in trade, her excellent academic qualification, her position as Managing Director of the World Bank and currently the Board Chair of GAVI and the African Union Special Envoy to mobilise financial resources for the fight against COVID-19 pandemic.

The communique said these attributes made her a strong contender for the position.

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