Category Archives: World Trade Organization

Nigeria’s ex VP, Atiku congratulates Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala on WTO DG emergence.

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Abubakar in a statement signed by himself said Okonjo-Iweala was well known to him and “not hyperbole” when he said that no one could be more qualified for the job of D-G of WTO than her.

Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has congratulated former Minister of Finance for her emergence as the first female and African Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

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Abubakar in a statement signed by himself said Okonjo-Iweala was well known to him and “not hyperbole” when he said that no one could be more qualified for the job of D-G of WTO than her.

He described her as an apostle of free trade and astute manager of people and resources, adding that the world would be much more prosperous with her recent elevation.

“As the world prepares to emerge from the global pandemic of COVID19, the planet needs a steady hand at the wheel, to drive global trade, and rebuild from the devastation wrought by the virus.

“ We would not need someone who thinks they can pull this off. We would need someone who has actually and serially pulled it off before. And that person has emerged,” he said.

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Abubakar said that Africa and Nigeria were proud of Okonjo-Iweala.

He said his family was full of joy at her victory, saying “go to Geneva and make us proud, as we know you will.”

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#Newsworthy

WTO DG: Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala speaks on appointment.

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Her confirmation was initially stalled by the then Donald Trump administration in the United States’ support for South Korea’s Trade Minister Yoo Myung-hee.

Former Nigerian finance minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala Monday said she is “honoured” to have been named as the director-general of World Trade Organisation.

Okonjo-Iweala was appointed on Monday, months after key ambassadors of the trade organisation recommended her for the job.

Her confirmation was initially stalled by the then Donald Trump administration in the United States’ support for South Korea’s Trade Minister Yoo Myung-hee.

But the administration of the new American president Joe Biden threw its weight behind Okonjo-Iweala after the South Korean minister pulled out of the race.

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“A strong WTO is vital if we are to recover fully and rapidly from the devastation wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Okonjo-Iweala said after her official confirmation.

“I look forward to working with members to shape and implement the policy responses we need to get the global economy going again. Our organization faces a great many challenges but working together we can collectively make the WTO stronger, more agile and better adapted to the realities of today.”

When she takes office on 1 March, Dr Okonjo-Iweala will become the first woman and the first African to be chosen as Director-General. Her term, renewable, will expire on 31 August 2025.

“This is a very significant moment for the WTO. On behalf of the General Council, I extend our warmest congratulations to Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala on her appointment as the WTO’s next Director-General and formally welcome her to this General Council meeting,” said General Council Chair David Walker of New Zealand who, together with co-facilitators Amb. Dacio Castillo (Honduras) and Amb. Harald Aspelund (Iceland) led the nine-month DG selection process.

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“Dr Ngozi, on behalf of all members I wish to sincerely thank you for your graciousness in these exceptional months, and for your patience. We look forward to collaborating closely with you, Dr Ngozi, and I am certain that all members will work with you constructively during your tenure as Director-General to shape the future of this organization,” he added.

Dr Okonjo-Iweala said a key priority for her would be to work with members to quickly address the economic and health consequences brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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#Newsworthy

WTO: Buhari embrace US removal of objections from Okonjo-Iweala’s DG run.

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Nigeria and the entire African continent are happy about this new U.S position..

President Muhammadu Buhari has welcomed pronouncement of the Office of the United States Trade Representative, signifying withdrawal of the country’s objection to the emergence of Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala as Director General of World Trade Organisation (WTO).

Buhari said: “We certainly welcome the decision of the new U.S administration to remove the last obstacle in the path of Dr. Okonjo-Iweala to becoming the first female and the first person of African descent to lead the organisation.

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“Nigeria and the entire African continent are happy about this new U.S position, which signifies a shift and an important turnaround in the relations between our continent and the United States under the Biden administration.

“Today, we see that the United States stands with Nigeria and Africa, with the acceptance of our widely respected citizen, Okonjo-Iweala to lead the WTO. We look forward to working very closely with the new U.S administration on this and all issues of common interests, especially in such areas as accelerated economic growth, fight against terrorism and deepening progress on development issues.”

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#Newsworthy

Biden-led US Gov’t backs Okonjo-Iweala as WTO DG.

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Donald Trump had blocked Okonjo-Iweala’s chances of becoming director-general of the organisation

The United States of America under President Joe Biden has affirmed its support for Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala as Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

The office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) disclosed this in a statement made available by the U.S Mission in Nigeria on Saturday.

The Biden-Harris administration expressed its support for Nigeria’s former Minister of Finance following the withdrawal of Korea’s Trade Minister Yoo Myung-hee as a candidate for the same position.

Recall with NoRM that past U.S President Donald Trump had blocked Okonjo-Iweala’s chances of becoming director-general of the organisation.

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“The U.S takes note of today’s decision by the Republic of Korea’s Trade Minister Yoo Myung-hee to withdraw her candidacy for Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

“The Biden-Harris administration is pleased to express its strong support for the candidacy of Okonjo-Iweala as the next Director-General of the WTO.

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“Okonjo-Iweala brings a wealth of knowledge in economics and international diplomacy from her 25 years with the World Bank and two terms as Nigerian finance minister.

(FILES) In this file photo taken on July 15, 2020 Nigerian former Foreign and Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala attends a press conference on July 15, 2020, in Geneva, following her hearing before World Trade Organization 164 member states’ representatives, as part of the application process to head the WTO as Director General. (Photo by Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP)

“She is widely respected for her effective leadership and has proven experience, managing a large international organisation with a diverse membership.

“The Biden-Harris administration also congratulates Minister Yoo Myung-hee on her strong campaign for this position.

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“She is a trailblazer as the Republic of Korea’s first female trade minister and the first candidate from Korea to advance this far in the DG selection process.

“The U.S respects her decision to withdraw her candidacy from the director-general race to help facilitate a consensus decision at the WTO,” the statement read.

The statement noted that It was particularly important to underscore that two highly qualified women made it to the final round of consideration for the position of WTO D-G.

This, it added, was the first time that any woman had made it to this stage in the history of the institution.

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The U.S expressed commitment to stand ready to engage in the next phase of the WTO process for reaching a consensus decision on the WTO D-G.

“The Biden administration looks forward to working with a new WTO Director-General to find paths forward to achieve necessary substantive and procedural reform of the WTO,” it said.

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#Newsworthy

WTO: Nigeria’s Iweala is last woman standing after Korea falls.

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The WTO was destined to have its first woman director-general after the months-long consultations process whittled the candidates down to the final two

South Korean trade minister Yoo Myung-hee on Friday abandoned her bid to become head of the World Trade Organization, Seoul said, clearing the way for Nigeria’s Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala to become the global body’s first woman and first African director-general.

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Yoo had consulted with the United States — her prime backer — and other major countries and “decided to renounce her candidacy”, South Korea’s trade ministry said in a statement.

The process to name a successor to Roberto Azevedo had been deadlocked since October, when key WTO ambassadors tapped Okonjo-Iweala as the best pick to lead the organisation but the Trump administration maintained its opposition to her appointment.

The WTO head is normally chosen by consensus, leaving the process at a standstill.

Observers suggested that South Korea was under pressure from the United States — a security ally that stations 28,500 troops in the country to defend it from the nuclear-armed North — to keep Yoo in the race.

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At the same time, Seoul faced anger from African countries and others for not bowing out.

“Korea is stuck between a rock and a hard place,” one Western trade diplomat told AFP at the time.

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The South’s decision to withdraw her candidacy comes two weeks after Joe Biden was sworn in as the new US president.

(COMBO) This combination of file pictures shows South Korean Trade Minister Yoo Myung-hee (L) in Geneva on July 16, 2020; and Nigerian former Foreign and Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala (R) in Geneva on July 15, 2020, as they give press conferences as part of their application process to head the WTO as Director General. – South Korean trade minister Yoo Myung-hee on February 5, 2021 abandoned her bid to become head of the World Trade Organization, Seoul said, clearing the way for Nigeria’s Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala to become the global body’s first woman and first African director-general. (Photo by Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP)

“South Korea will continue to make various contributions to rebuild and enhance the multilateral trade system,” the trade ministry statement said.

The WTO is widely seen as being in need of reform — even before the Covid-19 crisis hit, it had grappled with stalled trade talks and struggled to curb tensions between the United States and China.

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The global trade body has also faced relentless attacks from Washington, which has crippled the WTO dispute settlement appeal system and threatened to leave the organisation altogether.

Final two
The WTO was destined to have its first woman director-general after the months-long consultations process whittled the candidates down to the final two.

Twice Nigeria’s finance minister and its first woman foreign minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, 66, trained as a development economist — she has degrees from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Harvard.

She spent a quarter of a century at the World Bank, rising to be managing director and running for the top role in 2012, and is seen as a trailblazer in her home country.

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Similarly Yoo, 53, is known as a glass-ceiling-breaker in the South’s still male-dominated society.

An English literature graduate of the elite Seoul National University, she set aside her dreams of a literary career to become a trade ministry civil servant, later handling a number of free trade negotiations along the way.

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#Newsworthy

WTO DG: Successful entrepreneur, Aliko Dangote endorses Okonjo-Iweala

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President of Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote, has endorsed the former Minister of Finance and Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, for the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Director General position.

The endorsement comes ahead of the second phase of the selection process on September 7, 2020.

Dangote wrote in a tweet yesterday: “A vote for her by all is a step in the right direction. I fully endorse the candidature of Okonjo Iweala-Iweala to lead the WTO.

“In these challenging times, WTO needs the renowned skills and tested experience of Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala to lead the organisation through identified obstacles and strengthen its position as the prime facilitator of international trade. ”

The candidate said: “I think I have the wind behind my back. I have had constructive conversations all around. Now there is an appetite and recognition for reform beyond where the WTO is now. I am passionate about how trade lifts millions from poverty.”

The former Nigerian minister is one of eight candidates (and one of three women) in the fray for the post of the WTO Director General.


#Newsworthy…

Top Story: 3 Africans up for WTO top job

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After the chief of the World Trade Orgnization Roberto Azevedo stepped down on Monday, the organization is facing multiple crisis without a captain to steer the ship.

While the situation could drag on for several months, the race to find his replacement is on.

Eight candiadtes have put their name into the hat to replace him, including three from the African continent.

The hopefuls are Kenya’s Amina Mohamed, Egypt’s Abdel-Hamid Mamdouh, Nigeria’s Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and Eypt’s Abdel-Hamid Mamdouh.

If either of the first two candidates are selected, it could be not just the first African to take the helm of the WTO, but also the first woman in the role.

Two Europeans, two Asians and one Latin American are also vying for the top job.

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But the role comes at a tough time.

The coronavirus pandemic has hammered global trade and who ever succeeds Azevedo will also have to curb trade tensions between the United States and China.

The global trade body also faces attacks from Washington, which has crippled the WTO dispute settlement appeal system and has also threatened to leave.

The WTO has two main roles. It negotiates trade deals between its 164 members and also acts as a mediator for any disputes between countries.

Azevedo leaves the WTO to join Pepsi.

SOURCE: NOBLE REPORTERS MEDIA


#Newsworthy…