PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari has assured former finance Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala that his government will would spare no effort to ensure she emerges as the next director-general of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
Last week, Dr Okonjo-Iweala, 66, was named on a final shortlist of two as the WTO whittled down its original list of seven to her and South Korea’s trade minister Yoo Myung-hee. At the WTO the selection procedure relies on finding a consensus candidate and delegates are now expected to announce the winning candidate at the next meeting on November 7.
Earlier today, Dr Okonjo-Iweala visited President Buhari in the company of Nigeria’s trade minister Niyi Adebayo, the minister of state for foreign affairs Zubair Dada and Maryam Katagum, the minister of state for industry, trade and investment. During the visit, President Buhari said Dr Okonjo-Iweala deserved all Nigeria has to offer because she had also served the country diligently.
President Buhari added: “I assure you that we will do all that we can to ensure that you emerge as the director-general of WTO, not only because you are a Nigerian but because you are a hardworking Nigerian. You deserve this.”
Dr Okonjo-Iweala, who had previously served as the managing director, operations of the World Bank, will become the first African and first female to lead the WTO in its 25 years of existence if she gets selected. The third phase of consultations with member countries of the WTO to select a preferred candidate will commence on October 19 and run until October 27
At the moment, Dr Okonjo-Iweala is currently the chair of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance and is also a board member at Twitter, Standard Chartered Bank and African Risk Capacity. In addition, she is co-chair of the Global Commission for the Economy and Climate, a member of the Japan International Cooperation Agency international advisory board, a member of the International Monetary Fund external advisory board and an African Union special envoy.