Nigerian candidature for the Position of Director General at the World Trade Organization (WTO), Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has recently received advocacy and full support from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
The former Managing Director of World Bank, two term Minister of Finance and one time Minister of Foreign Affairs was nominated by Nigeria to represent them for 2021 to 2025 period.
The Support for Iweala in securing WTO’s top position by ECOWAS, was contained in a statement signed by chairperson, ECOWAS head of state and government, Mahamadou Issoufou, who also called on other African and non African countries to give her the required backing needed to win the position.
“Ever since World Trade Organization was formulated on 1 January 1995, which is considered a successor to General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), no African has assumed the position of Director General of the organization”, the statement read.
Iweala is about the third candidate to have come from Africa, in line with Egypt’s nominated candidate, Abdel-Hamid Mamdouh, a former WTO senior official, and Kenya’s Amina Mohamed.
However, Iweala’s nomination for the position by the Presidency surprised quite a few, due to the initial selection of WTO’s Deputy Director General, Ambassador Yonov Frederick Agah, only for decision to be rendered invalidate with the Federal government releasing a statement that read, His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, has certified Dr. Okonjo-Iweala to replace Ambassador Agah as Nigerian candidacy for Director General.
Responding to these, Egypt then reported the country to the African Union (AU) for violation of AU’s guidelines.
Meanwhile, WTO stated that the process in appointing the next Director General formally began June 8 prior to announcement made by the present Director General that he will be stepping down come August end 2020.