Friday, April 12, 2024

Nigeria’s Okonjo-Iweala among final two shortlisted for WTO top job

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Isaac Kaledzi
Isaac Kaledzi
Isaac Kaledzi is an experienced and award winning journalist from Ghana. He has worked for several media brands both in Ghana and on the International scene. Isaac Kaledzi is currently serving as an African Correspondent for DW.

Nigeria’s Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has made it to the final stage of the selection process for the top job at the World Trade Organization.

She is the only African left in the race and will now compete with South Korea’s Yoo Myung-hee for the top role.

With the two women the remaining candidates in the race for the WTO job, it is certain the organization will have its first female director general in its 25-year history.

Okonjo-Iweala previously served as Nigeria’s finance minister on two occasions and once as a foreign affairs minister.

She also served as former managing director of the World Bank and as a chairperson at the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization.

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Yoo on the other hand served as South Korea’s trade minister.

During her 25-year career in government, she helped expand her country’s trade network through bilateral accords with the U.S., China and the U.K.

Yoo Myung-hee. Photographer: Jean Chung/Bloomberg

At the start of the process Africa had three of the eight candidates vying for the top job.

Many African diplomats are pushing for an African to be at the helm of one of the world’s top economic institutions.

No African has held the top job at the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, making the push for an African to occupy an equivalent position crucial for the continent.

The WTO sets the rules for global trade and adjudicates in trade disputes between nations.

It is also, according to its website, supposed to “open trade for the benefit of all”.

The leader of the Geneva-based organisation attends G7 and G20 meeting and can broker disputes between world leaders.

The next leader of the WTO is expected to take office in November this year.

The third and final phase of the consultation process will begin later this month and run until Nov. 6.


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