The race to become the new Director-General of the World Trade Organisation after South Korea’s Trade Minister Yoo Myung-hee withdrew on 5 February, Nigeria Former Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has been confirmed as the next Director-General.
The General Council, agreed on her appointment in a virtual meeting which had just one agenda item, they said. The WTO subsequently confirmed the choice.
Okonjo-Iweala makes history as the first woman and the first African to lead the WTO. Her term starts on the 1st of March 2021 and will expire on 31 August 2025.
The General Council decision follows months of uncertainty that arose when the then United States President Donald Trump’s government insisted it would veto her candidacy and back Minister Yoo instead.
The former head of the WTO, Brazil’s Roberto Azevedo, stepped down a year before his mandate was due to end, frustrated the logjam in the organisation as the US and China were locked in disputes amid a mood of rising economic nationalism.
But With Joe Biden’s victory in the US Presidential election, it looks certain that Washington will recognise Okonjo-Iweala’s victory in the WTO race.