Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala Set To Become Leader Of The World Trade Organization

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is set to become the first Black woman to lead the World Trade Organization.

On Friday (February 5), the way was cleared for Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala to become the world’s top trade official after the other candidate, Yoo Myung-hee, the South Korean trade minister, dropped out of the race, citing a “close consultation” with the US as a determining factor, according to CNN Business

Before Myung-hee’s announcement, Okonjo-Iweala had already garnered support from WTO members including China, Japan, the European Union, and Australia. The administration of former President Donald Trump, however, had favored Myung-hee, which complicated the process, since a new leader must have unanimous support from the entire WTO. 

The formal selection of Okonjo-Iweala might be on hold until after a new trade representative is appointed by the US under the new administration of President Joe Biden

Okonjo-Iweala is an economist and previously served as the finance minister of Nigeria. She worked at the World Bank for 25 years, where she ascended to the rank of managing director. 

The WTO is responsible for promoting free trade on a global level, and hasn’t had a leader since Roberto Azevêdo stepped down last year, a year earlier than expected. 

In August, Okonjo-Iweala told the outlet that free trade was necessary to recovery efforts in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic’s financial toll on the global economy. 

“The WTO needs a leader at this time. It needs a fresh look, a fresh face, an outsider, someone with the capability to implement reforms and to work with members to make sure the WTO comes out of partial paralysis that it’s in,” she said. 

Photo: Getty Images 

Sponsored Content

Sponsored Content