- Confirmation of Okonjo-Iweala’s appointment will make her the organisation’s first female and first African head.
After nearly six months without a principal officer, the World Trade Organization (WTO) looks set to appoint Nigeria’s Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala as its first female and first African leader next week.
The global trade body announced Tuesday that it would hold a special meeting of its General Council on February 15 “to consider the appointment of the next WTO director-general”.
AFP reports that the announcement comes after US President Joe Biden’s administration last week offered its “strong support” to Okonjo-Iweala, marking yet another sharp split from his predecessor Donald Trump, who had blocked her nomination for months.
Key WTO ambassadors tapped Okonjo-Iweala back in October as the best pick to lead the organisation but Trump’s administration maintained its opposition to her appointment and said it backed her opponent, South Korea’s trade minister Yoo Myung-hee, instead.
Since the WTO makes decisions through consensus among all 164 member states, the US position left the process to replace Roberto Azevedo — who stepped down a year ahead of schedule last August — at a standstill.
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