Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala becomes first female Director General of World Trade Organization

US veto threatens Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala's WTO appointment


Nigeria’s former Chief Economic Officer and Minister of Finance, Prof. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has emerged as the new Director General of the World Trade Organization (WTO), becoming the organisation’s first female and African Director-General.

Okonjo-Iweala, 66, beat her rival, South Korean Yoo Myung hee in a keenly contested election, with a wide margin. The former World Bank top official polled 104 votes from 164 member countries to defeat Myung Hee at the final stage of the race.

Okonjo-Iweala received support from Africa and other continents before the election which took place Wednesday, October 28.

Her victory comes days after European Union member nations threw their weight behind her candidacy against Ms. Myung hee, who was backed by the United States.

Okonjo-Iweala was Nigeria’s first female Finance minister and later Foreign Affair minister. She has a 25-year career behind her as a development economist and international finance expert at the World Bank, eventually becoming its number two.  Okonjo-Iweala is also on Twitter’s board of directors and a special envoy for the World Health Organization’s COVID-19 fight.

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