The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has endorsed the candidature of Nigerian Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala for the position of Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
Okonjo-Iweala, an economist, had formally been nominated by Nigeria for the position for the period 2021-2025.
ECOWAS noted that since the creation of WTO on January 1, 1995, no African country has been appointed the Director-General of the organization.
‘’The Minister of Foreign Affairs wishes to inform that the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government has endorsed the candidature of Dr, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala for the position of Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO) for the period 2021-2025.’’
‘’The ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government endorsed the candidature of Nigeria noting, her long years of managerial experience at the top echelon of multilateral institutions, her reputation as a fearless reformer, her excellent negotiating and political skills, her experience of over 30 years as a developmental economist with a long-standing interest in trade, her excellent academic qualification, her position as Managing Director World Bank, and currently as Board Chair, Gavi, and AU Special Ebnoy to mobilize financial resources for the fight against COVID-19,’’ a press statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, signed by its spokesperson, Ferdinand Nwonye read partly.
In a possible step towards uniting Africa behind her candidature, ECOWAS has called on other African countries to support her as well.
Okonjo-Iweala, currently the chair of the board of Gavi, the vaccine alliance, has previously served as Nigeria’s Minister for Finance and Foreign Affairs and was also Managing Director Operations at the World Bank.
She is the second candidate fronted by a country from Africa. Egypt nominated Egyptian-Swiss lawyer Abdel-Hamid Mamdouh, who is a former long-serving WTO senior official, for the position.
Nigeria changed its candidate for the position causing Egypt to complain to the African Union that the West African nation violated the AU’s rules.