Okonjo-Iweala underscores need for election of credible DG for WTO



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Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala on Wednesday in Geneva stressed the need for the World Trade Organisation (WTO) to elect a credible person based on merit to the position of Director-General of the organisation.

Okonjo-Iweala, who is among the eight candidates vying for the position, said this while answering questions from newsmen at a news conference held shortly after her presentation to the WTO General Council.

“Choosing a Director-General for WTO should be on merit. The best person should be chosen to lead an institution that’s having challenges.

“If it happens to be a woman, great. If it happens to be an African its also great. It should be based on merit,” she said.

“The WTO needs leadership and I’m someone with a strong managerial capability with the ability to forge consensus and reforms.

“These bundles of qualities in addition to my leadership quality is what I’m bringing to the WTO,” She added.

Okonjo-Iweala also spoke on various issues ranging from the impact of COVID-19 on trade, and its challenges to Micro, Small, and Medium-Sized Enterprises (MSMSE) as well as e-Commerce.

According to her,  E-Commerce and Digital Economy are vital forms of trade especially in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. However, there was a need to address the challenge of the digital divide in developing and least-developed nations – where infrastructure remained a major impediment to such a form of trade.

Similarly, she emphasized the need to strengthen MSMSE – a vital part of the global economy that was adversely affected by the pandemic.


In the same vein, the former Finance Minister, also said that in tackling Covid-19, if elected as Director-General, she would ensure that vaccines are accessible to poorer countries.

“ When vaccines become available, there will be allocation criteria that will ensure that it’s accessible to all” She stressed while noting that she will bring her experience as Chair of GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance board to bear.

Other issues addressed by Okonjo- Iweala include fostering relations among member countries to rebuild trust on restoring consensus decision making- in other to strengthen the WTO.

Alongside Okonjo-Iweala, are candidates from Mexico, Egypt, Moldova, Republic of Korea, Kenya, UK, and Saudi Arabia vying for the WTO Director-General position.

In the meantime, the World Trade Organisation (WTO) on Wednesday in Geneva began the second phase of the selection process for the position of Director-General.

Former Finance Minister Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, who is Nigeria’s candidate, made a presentation to the WTO General Council and answered questions from members in a closed-door session of the council.

The session, which holds from July 15 to 17, is expected to receive presentations from seven other candidates, who are also vying for the position of Director-General of WTO.

The second phase of the selection process, in which candidates would make themselves known to members  will end on Sept. 7.

Similarly, the third phase which is the consultation process will begin on the same day.

At the forthcoming consultation, Chairman of the General Council alongside Chairs of the Dispute Settlement Body and the Trade Policy Review Body will consult with all the WTO members to determine which candidate is best placed to attract consensus support.

The seven others vying for the position of DG of the WTO are from Mexico, Egypt, Moldova, Republic of Korea, Kenya, UK, and Saudi Arabia.

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