Tag Archives: iweala

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…

WTO DG: Reps endorses Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

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The House of Representatives has endorsed the candidacy of Ngozi Okonjo Iweala as the Director-General of the World Trade Organisation, describing her as very qualified.

The resolution to support her followed a motion of urgent public importance raised by the minority leader, Ndudi Elumelu at plenary on Tuesday.

The lawmakers also urged President Buhari to rally other African leaders in support of her candidacy.

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Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar also endorsed the former Finance Minister on Saturday, saying her “experience and the enormous related works she has done confirms without equivocation that her leadership shall be a blessing to the WTO and the world”.

In a video posted on her Twitter handle on July 9, Okonjo-Iweala described the WTO as an organization that has become more important than ever.

According to her, with the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the world needs to come together using trade to build a better society.

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She said COVID-19 has changed the face of the world economy and thus the WTO needs to work with its members to pull through the difficult times.

President Muhammadu Buhari had nominated Okonjo-Iweala for the WTO DG role with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) later backing her nomination.

Other candidates also vying for the position inlcude South Korean Trade Minister Yoo Myung-hee; Kenya’s former foreign minister Amina Mohamed; Mexico’s former WTO deputy Director-General Jesus Seade Kuri; Egyptian former diplomat Hamid Mamdouh; and former Moldovan foreign minister Tudor Ulianovsch.

The successful candidate for the job will replace Mr Azevêdo who said he will step down on August 31.


#Newsworthy…

Top Story: ECOWAS endorses Okonjo-Iweala’s candidacy

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The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has endorsed the candidacy of Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala for the position of director-general of the World Trade Organisation.

Dr Okonjo-Iweala has been nominated by the President, Buhari to represent Nigeria and West Africa as the director-general of the World Trade Organisation.

In a statement signed by the President of Niger, Mahamadou Issoufou, it revealed that the organization is fully in support of her nomination.

The statement declared that the endorsement of Okonjo-Iweala’s candidature by ECOWAS is backed by her academic and over 30 years of experience as a Development Economist.


#Newsworthy…

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WTO DG: Egypt reject Okonjo-Iweala’s nomination.

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The nomination of Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala as Nigeria’s candidate for the position of the Director-General (DG) of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) has been opposed by the Egyptian government.

President Muhammadu Buhari had on Thursday announced the nomination of Okonjo-Iweala, a former minister of finance, for the position.

Buhari had said that Nigeria was withdrawing its previous nominee for the position, Yonov Frederick Agah and replacing him with the former finance minister.

But the Egyptian government, barely 24 hours after the nomination, registered its opposition to it.

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The northern African country, in a letter to the Ministerial Committee on Candidatures for the election, asked that Okonjo-Iweala’s nomination be rejected.

The Egyptian government argued in its communication No. 081 /2020- AU of June 5, 2020, to the Permanent Missions of the WTO Member States of the Ministerial Committee on Candidatures, that Nigeria’s decision to withdraw Agah’s candidature meant it had forfeited its chance to participate in the race.

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In a memo it sent to the African Union Commission (Commissioner of Political Affairs/Office of Legal Counsel), Egypt maintained that as far as it was concerned, three candidates, representing Benin Republic, Egypt and Nigeria, had already obtained the endorsement of the Executive Council to contest the position of the WTO Director General vide its decision EX.CL/December. 1090(XXXVI) of February 2020.

It named the three candidates to include Eloi Laourou of the Republic of Benin, Abdulhameed Mamdouh of the Arab Republic of Egypt Arab Republic, and Mr Agah of Nigeria.

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The Egyptian government said since Agah’s candidature had been withdrawn that it was urging the Ministerial Committee on Candidatures to officially inform the African Group in Geneva about the development and Nigeria’s disqualification.

According to Egypt, the committee should acknowledge that “Abdulhameed Mamdouh of the Arab Republic of Egypt and Eloi Laourou of the Republic of Benin are currently the only two endorsed African candidates.”

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It added in the memo, “In this context, the Permanent Mission of Egypt would like to highlight that Government of Egypt is undertaking consultations with the Government Benin with the aim of reaching a consensus on one African candidate between the only two currently endorsed African candidates, and will communicate the outcomes of these consultations to the esteemed Ministerial Committee at the soonest possible date.”

Egypt‘a opposition to Okonjo-Iweala’s nomination is coming despite the fact that the July 8, 2020, deadline for the closure of nominations for the elections is still more than a month away.

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Buhari, in his diplomatic communication through the Nigerian Embassy and Permanent Mission to the African Union (AU) and United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) in Addis Ababa, did not give reasons for the withdrawal of Mr Agah’s candidacy.

However, it is believed that the Nigerian leader may have considered Okonjo-Iweala’s global stature as a former Managing Director (operations) of the World Bank, finance expert, economist and international development professional with more than 30 years of experience, to nominate her for the position.


#Newsworthy…

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With COVID-19, 2020 will be tough Year – Okonjo-Iweala tells Buhari. [Nigeria]

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Nigeria’s former Finance Minister, Okonjo-Iweala, has warned that recession and difficult times are ahead amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Iweala said this during an interview.

She urged the Buhari-led government and other African countries to diversify the economy and look for other means of revenue as difficult times are ahead occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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When asked on the effect of oil prices on economies around the world, Iweala said: “What Nigerian government needs to do is to make the economy less dependent on these commodities and that is why for the longer time, restructure the economy so that you can also have other sources to create job for the people, other sources where you can tap revenues.

The former minister advised that Nigeria and other African countries’ economies have a lot of sectors like agriculture, tourism, and creative industries to diversify into to make the economy work.

” It is not just diversifying your economy but also diversifying your sources of revenue.

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“This is what our country is going to look at now and start planning about how they are going to do better in the future,” Iweala added.

“2020 spilling into 2021 is going to be a difficult year but I believe that if the world acts as one, if countries do not retreat into nationalism, populism, we will all have the resources to deal with these issues and help countries that do not have enough.”


#Newsworthy…

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[Nigeria] Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala gets WHO appointment on COVID-19.


>>> 524 Almajiri’s received in Jigawa, Nigeria from Kano State <<<


The Jigawa Government has received a total of 524 Almajiri pupils evacuated by neighbouring Kano State.

Receiving the pupils at Gen. Yakubu Gowon NYSC Camp in Dutse, the state Gov. Muhammad Badaru said the pupils would undergo medical screening, before handover to their respective parents.

Badaru said that accommodation and feeding arrangements had been made for the pupils until they would be declared safe to reunite with their parents.

He said that the gesture was aimed at ensuring that the pupils would be healthy to mingle with people in their respective communities.

Earlier, Mr Sunusi Kiru, the Kano State Commissioner for Education, who led the evacuation team, gave the assurance that the pupils underwent thorough medical screening before the evacuation.

NobleReporters gathered that the Kano Government has embarked on the evacuation of Almajiri pupils to their respective states of origin.

The decision is to ensure compliance with the social distancing order in the state to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The Kano Government had earlier evacuated 419 Almajiri pupils to Katsina State.

Almajiri is usually underage Quranic students sent to neighbouring communities in furtherance of their studies.


>>> WHO appoints Former Finance Minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala as COVID-19 Special Envoy <<<


The World Health Organisation (WHO) on Friday named former Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, as a Special Envoy for the newly inaugurated Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator.

She is to serve alongside British business executive, Sir Andrew Witty in the same capacity, to mobilise international commitment to the initiative.

Director-General of the organisation, Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus, made the announcement during the launch of the ACT Accelerator — via webinar from Geneva.

“I would especially like to thank Sir Andrew Witty and Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala for agreeing to act as Special Envoys for the ACT Accelerator,” Ghebreyesus said in his remarks.

The initiative is an international collaboration aimed at accelerating the development, production, and equitable distribution of COVID-18 drugs, tests kits, and vaccines around the world.

NobleReporters reports that this is the fourth international assignment given to Okonjo-Iweala in less than two months.

On March 7, President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa appointed her a member of the country’s Economic Advisory Council, which comprises indigenous and international economic experts.

The council advises the president and government on the development and implementation of economic policies toward advancing inclusive growth.

A month later on April 10, the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Kristalina Georgieva, named Okonjo-Iweala a member of the fund’s External Advisory Group.

The group comprises prominent individuals from around the world, who will serve as Georgieva’s special advisers.

Okonjo-Iweala is one of the four Special Envoys the African Union (AU) appointed on April 12 to mobilise international support for its efforts toward addressing the coronavirus pandemic.

The AU special envoys are charged with soliciting the support of the G20, the European Union and other international financial institutions for the organisation’s response.

Okonjo-Iweala is an internationally respected economist and development expert, who has served as Managing Director of the World Bank, among other assignments.


#Newsworthy…

Ngozi Iweala’s father buried after death at 91.

Former Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, joined other members of her family to lay their father, the late Obi of Ogwashi-Uku, Aniocha South Local Government Area of Delta State, Chukwuka Okonjo, to rest today December 21st.

The monarch who was a Mathematics professor, died in Septemer in Lagos at the age of 91.

In attendance at the funeral were Delta state governor Ifeanyi Okowa, former governor of Ogun State, Gbenga Daniels, and the pioneer chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Nuhu Ribadu.

See more photos below.

Okonjo-Iweala?s father laid to rest (photos)

Okonjo-Iweala?s father laid to rest (photos)
Okonjo-Iweala?s father laid to rest (photos)
Okonjo-Iweala?s father laid to rest (photos)
#Newsworthy…