WTO Leadership: Okonjo-Iweala Thanks Nigerians, Buhari, U.S. For Support

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In this file photo taken on September 19, 2016 former Finance Minster of Nigeria Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala looks on during the Opening Plenary Session: "Partnering for Global Prosperity," at the Clinton Global Initiative in New York. Bryan R. Smith / AFP
In this file photo taken on September 19, 2016, former Finance Minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, claps at the Clinton Global Initiative held in New York. Bryan R. Smith / AFP

 

Former Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has thanked Nigerians and President Muhammadu Buhari for their support following her emergence as the sole candidate for the top job at the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

She also extended her appreciation to the United States government after the country endorsed her to become the Director-General of the global trade body.

Okonjo-Iweala, who was vying for the job with the Republic of Korea’s Trade Minister, Yoo Myung-hee, showed gratitude via her verified Twitter handle on Friday.

 

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While the majority of the member-countries of the organisation had endorsed the Nigerian candidate, Ms Myung-hee had enjoyed the support of former U.S. President Donald Trump in their bids to become the WTO DG.

On Friday, the Korean minister announced that she was abandoning her bid to lead the international trade body, leading to Okonjo-Iweala’s emergence as the sole candidate for the job.

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Following the development, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, in a statement, said, “The United States 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 Organization (WTO).

“The Biden-Harris Administration is pleased to express its strong support for the candidacy of Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala as the next Director-General of the WTO.

“Dr 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.

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“She is widely respected for her effective leadership and has proven experience managing a large international organization with a diverse membership,” it added.

Okonjo-Iweala, 66, was nominated as Nigeria’s candidate to lead the WTO by President Muhammadu Buhari in June 2020.

She is a Nigerian-American economist and international development expert who has a 25-year career at the World Bank, scaling the ranks to the second top position of Managing Director, Operations.

The Delta State-born economist served two terms as the minister of finance under former Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo and Goodluck Jonathan respectively.

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