Ngozi Okonjo Iweala Makes History As She Becomes The First Black Female DG of The World Trade Organization
Come March 1, 2021, history will be made, as Dr Okonjo-Iweala will become the first woman and the first African to be chosen as Director-General of the world trade organization (WTO). She will be in office for four Years, until 31 August 2025.
This is coming a few months after it was uncertain if she will make the post, due to the United States’ initially refusal to join the consensus around Dr Okonjo-Iweala, throwing their support behind Trade Minister Yoo Myung-hee of the Republic of Korea.
However, on February 5, 2021, Too Myung-hee withdrew her candidacy, then the administration of newly elected US President Joseph R. Biden Jr. dropped the US objection and announced its support for Okonjo Oweala’s race for the position.
Acknowledging Okonjo Oweala’s win, the General Council Chair David Walker, said
“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. 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.”
In response, Dr Okonjo-Iweala made a speech.
Read excerpts from her speech below;
“I am honoured to have been selected by WTO members as WTO Director-General. A strong WTO is vital if we are to recover fully and rapidly from the devastation wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic. 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.”