Tag Archives: WTO

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

Femi Gbaja, others felicitate with Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala on emerging WTO DG.

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Gbajabiamila said her confirmation had once again proved that Nigeria has experts that could compete favourably, both at home and abroad.

The Speaker, House of Representatives, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila, has congratulated Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, on her emergence as the Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

Gbajabiamila, in a statement by Lanre Lasisi, his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, on Monday in Abuja, said that Okonjo-Iweala’s track record speaks volumes.

Similarly, Minority Caucus in the House of Representatives through Rep. Ndudi Elumelu, the House Minority Leader, congratulated the former Minister of Finance for her successful emergence as WTO director-general in spite of all hurdles.

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Gbajabiamila said Okonjo-Iweala’s unanimous confirmation by the General Council of the WTO to head the body was “a testament to her years of experience in the financial sector, both at home and abroad”.

The speaker said that the former two-time Finance Minister of Nigeria came to office with a wealth of experience that spans several decades, noting that her track records speak volumes.

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He said with Okonjo-Iweala’s pedigree, she would take the World Trade Organisation to enviable heights during her term.

Gbajabiamila said her confirmation had once again proved that Nigeria has experts that could compete favourably, both at home and abroad.

He then called on the new WTO director-general to make Nigeria and Africa proud, while wishing her a successful tenure in office.

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In his remarks, Elumelu commended Okonjo-Iweala’s emergence as WTO chief officer, adding that her emergence had reinforced global confidence in international consensus.

He said it had also added to the recognition of competence and proficiency over provincial considerations.

“Indeed, the election of Okonjo-Iweala to head the WTO is well-deserving, given her wealth of experience, competence, commitment and track records of performance in global finance and economy,” Elumelu said.

This, according to him, was evidenced in her successes as the Nigeria’s Minister of Finance, Managing Director of the World Bank and various other international development bodies.

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“We commend the global community for having confidence in Okonjo-Iweala and particularly, the U.S President, His Excellency Joe Biden, for the unwavering support given to her by his administration,” he said.

The minority leader said that the election was clearly in recognition of Okonjo-Iweala’s competence.Elumelu said that the caucus commended the understanding and spirit of sportsmanship exhibited by the South Korean Trade Minister, Yoo Myung-hee, in withdrawing from the race.He said it was another loud testament to Okonjo-Iweala’s suitability for the task ahead.

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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…

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…

WTO: Final Eight Candidate

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The nomination process for the office of the director-general of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) has finally closed, and all the candidates for the WTO top job are now known.

There are eight candidates in the race; three from Africa, two from Europe, one from the Middle-East, one from North America, and one from Asia.

In the race are three women — Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Amina Mohammed and Yoo Myung-hee — and four men. If any of the women win, she would become the first female WTO DG since the organisation was set up 25 years ago.

Noble Reporters Media reviewed the biography of all seven candidates and here is how they stand:

JESÚS SEADE KURI

Jesús Seade Kuri
COUNTRYMEXICO
Age73
OccupationChemical Engineer, economist, diplomat, politician
Current jobUndersecretary for North America in Mexico’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs
EducationChemical Engineering at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM); master and PhD in economics from the University of Oxford
Previous international jobsWorld Bank chief economist; founding deputy director-general of the World Trade Organization; senior advisor at the IMF; vice-president of Lingnan University in Hong Kong
Previous local jobsNorth American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) negotiator for Mexico
Current international jobsProfessor of Economics at Lingnan University in Hong Kong
AwardsN/A
Selling pointExperience in the creation of WTO and at its highest level of governance
WTO experienceWorked at the WTO from inception till October 1998
Quotable quote“Digital trade is an opportunity to expand availability, choice and lower the price.”
Quick factSpeaks all official languages of the WTO — English, Spanish and French

TUDOR ULIANOVSCHI

Tudor Ulianovschi
COUNTRYMOLDOVA
Age37
OccupationPolitician, diplomat
Current jobSenior Vice President at Grasshopper Energy
EducationA Ph.D. candidate at the Free International University of Moldova
Previous international jobsPermanent Representative to the United Nations Office in Geneva; President of the Trade and Development Board at UNCTAD, Vice President of the General Assembly at WIPO, President of the Steering Committee on Trade at UNECE.
Previous local jobsForeign minister of Moldova; Moldovan Ambassador to Liechtenstein and Switzerland;
Current international jobsNone
AwardsMoldova distinguished personality of the year – 2018 by VIP Magazin; Man of the Year 2019 by Aquarelle media
Selling pointExperience at the highest level of the WTO
WTO experienceChair of the Balance of Payments Committee of the WTO; Permanent Representative to the World Trade Organization
Quotable quote“No one should be left behind; this is not just a simple phrase, it is important to have an inclusive approach.”
Quick factThe diplomat who speaks English, Russian, French,  Arabic and Romanian has 15 years of experience in diplomacy and international trade

MOHAMMAD MAZIAD AL-TUWAIJRI

Mohammad Maziad Al-Tuwaijri
COUNTRYSAUDI ARABIA
Age60
OccupationPilot, banker, politician
Current jobRoyal Court advisor in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
EducationB.Sc Aeronautics at King Faisal Air Force Academy, MBA from King Saud University
Previous international jobsGroup managing director, deputy chairman and CEO at HSBC, UAE.
Previous local jobsFormer minister of economy and planning; managing director and CEO of JP Morgan, Saudi Arabia; head of risk management, Saudi British Bank.
Current international jobsNone
AwardsN/A
Selling pointRepresenting a large bloc — middle east and north africa
WTO experienceNone
Quotable quoteN/A
Quick factIf he wins, he would be the first WTO DG from an Arab nation

AMINA MOHAMED JIBRIL

Amina Mohamed Jibril
COUNTRYKENYA
Age58
OccupationLawyer, diplomat, and politician
Current JobCabinet Secretary for Sports, Heritage, and Culture in Kenya
EducationLLM in International law from the University of Kiev, Ukraine and Postgraduate diploma in International Relations from the University of Oxford, UK.
Previous International JobsChair of the International Organization for Migration, chair of the World Trade Organization’s General Council, assistant secretary-General of the UN and deputy executive director at UNEP.
Previous local JobsCabinet Secretary for Foreign Affairs; Cabinet Secretary for Education
AwardsKnight of the Order of the Star of Italian Solidarity (Cav.O.S.S.I.); Life Member of the Red Cross Society; Honorary Doctorate from KCA University; Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun (2017)
Selling pointExperience at the highest level of the WTO
WTO ExperienceShe ran for the office of the DG in 2013 but lost to Roberto Azevedo, the current DG
ControversyRan against the AU candidate for the WTO top job in 2013 — both lost
Quotable quote“The best years of this organisation (WTO) are not in the past, they are in its future; there is always a golden past, but the best is never in the past”
Fun factShe speaks Somali, English, Russian, Swahili and has a working knowledge of French

LIAM FOX

Liam Fox
COUNTRYUNITED KINGDOM
Age58
OccupationMedical doctor, politician and diplomat
Current jobMember of the British Parliament since 1992
EducationStudied Medicine at the University of Glasgow
Previous international jobsNone
Previous local jobsSecretary of state for international trade; secretary of state for defence; general practitioner (Medical doctor); chair of the Conservative Party; parliamentary under-secretary of state for foreign and commonwealth affairs; lord commissioner for treasury.
Current international jobsNone
AwardsN/A
Selling pointExperience in international trade
WTO experienceNone
Quotable quote“Above all, trade has been the greatest liberator of the world’s poor, harnessing the forces of globalisation to spread prosperity and lift millions from poverty.”
Quick factFox supported Brexit, and may not get EU votes

YOO MYUNG-HEE

Yoo Myung-Hee
COUNTRYKOREA
Age53
OccupationLawyer, politician
Current jobMinister of trade
EducationJuris Doctor from Vanderbilt University Law School, and masters in public policy from Seoul National University
Previous international jobsNone
Previous local jobsPresidential spokesperson; deputy minister for FTA negotiation; First Secretary (2007-2008) and then Counsellor (2009-2010), Korean Embassy in China; Director-General for Bureau of Trade Policy
Current international jobsNone
AwardsN/A
Selling pointExperience negotiating trade at the highest level of governance in and out of the WTO
WTO experienceNone
Quotable quote“South Korea can become a bridge, connecting developing countries and advanced countries”
Quick factShe is regarded as the “devil’s advocate” in Korea, due to her aggressive trade negotiations, and she is the first woman to become minister of trade in Korea — after 70 years of male domination.

ABDULHAMEED MAMDOUH

Abdulhameed Mamdouh
COUNTRYEGYPT
Age68
OccupationLawyer, diplomat
Current jobSenior Counsel at King & Spalding LLP
EducationJuris Doctor degree at Cairo University
Previous international jobsDirector of the Trade in Services and Investment Division of the WTO; secretary of the WTO Council for Trade in Services since the establishment of the WTO in 1995.
Previous local jobsTrade negotiator with the diplomatic service of Egypt
Current international jobsVisiting Professor at Queen Mary London University
AwardsLifetime Achievement Award by The Coalition of Service Industries
Selling pointExperience at the highest level of the WTO
WTO experienceWorked at the WTO from inception in 1995 till October 2017
Quotable quote“Successful relationships don’t only depend on the extent to which we agree, but mostly on how we deal with our differences.”
Quick factSpeaks Arabic, English and French

NGOZI OKONJO-IWEALA

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala
COUNTRYNIGERIA
Age65
OccupationDevelopment economist, diplomat
Current jobChair, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance
EducationBachelor’s in economics from Harvard University and PhD in regional economics and development from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Honourary degrees from over a dozen universities worldwide.
Previous international jobsMD of the World Bank; co-chair of the Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation; UN Secretary General’s high-level panel on the post-2015 development agenda
Previous local JobsTwo-time minister of finance in Nigeria; minister of foreign affairs. The first female to take up both jobs.
Current International JobsBoard member at Twitter, Standard Chartered Bank, and African Risk Capacity; co-Chair of the Global Commission for the Economy and Climate; member Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) international advisory board; IMF external advisory board; AU special envoy.
AwardsGlobal Finance Minister of the Year 2005 by Euromoney; Top 100 Most Influential People in the World for 2014 by TIME Magazine, 2014; Top 100 Global Thinkers 2011, 2012 by Foreign Policy; the Top 100 Most Powerful Women in the World by Forbes Magazine 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014; National honours from Nigeria, Liberia and Cote d’Ivoire.
Selling pointExperience at the highest level of the World Bank, and easily one of Africa’s most trusted technocrats
WTO ExperienceNone
Quotable quote“The best way to help Africans today is to help them to stand on their own feet. And the best way to do that is by helping create jobs.”
Quick factKidnapper who held her mother captive requested her resignation as minister of finance for her role in seeking transparency with fuel subsidy payment in Nigeria. She refused.

#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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