Okonjo-Iweala endorsed as WTO’s director-general

...But several Nigerian media organisations reported she has won

NGOZI Okonjo-Iweala, Nigeria’s former minister of finance has been endorsed to become the next the Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), and the first woman to occupy the office since the establishment of the world largest trade organization in  1995.

However, during the tense anticipation for the declaration, many Nigerian media organisations hastily published reports suggesting that Okonjo Iweala has been “elected”.

In several headlines, the Nigerian media, both print and broadcast told their audience that the former Nigeria minister, Okonjo-Iweala has been appointed. Some of the media organisations include The Punch newspaper, The Cable, Arise News, Pro Share, Vanguard newspaper among others.

Whereas Okonjo-Iweala only secured a vital endorsement from the WTO’s selection committee on Wednesday, a position that may seal the fate of her South Korea’s counterpart, Yoo Myung-hee.

According to a report,. the panel of three senior WTO ambassadors told Okonjo-Iweala that she had a wide margin of support and is best poised to command a consensus from the organization’s 164 members.

In contrast to the previous reports by a few of the Nigerian media organisation, Sherwin Bryce-Pease, the United Nations Bureau Chief of the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) reported that the WTO General Council Chair has recommended Nigeria’s Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala to be the next DG of WTO.

He added that the United States insisted that the South Korean candidate remains in the race for DG job, adding that they could not join consensus around Okonjo-Iweala.

It turned out later that the General Council has shifted the decision to elect the next Director-General of the WTO to November 9th.

“NO new DG has thus been named today despite strong support for Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and despite the proliferation of misinformation on Twitter,” he tweeted.

Okonjo- Iweala is an expert in development economist, finance and international development expert.


She graduated from Harvard University in the United States (US) and earned a doctorate degree in regional economics and development from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), also in the US.

She also has 15 honorary degrees from top universities around the world including Yale, Brown, and the University of Pennsylvania.

She has served twice as Nigeria’s finance minister, under the Goodluck Jonathan administration as well as during the Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration following a successful career in the World Bank where she rose to the second-highest position in the bank as  Managing Director.

During her time, as a Minister in Nigeria, she secured a multi-billion-dollar debt relief package of $18 billion for Nigeria as well as a deal to return part of the Paris Club fund.

The ICIR had reported that all 27 European Union (EU) governments have thrown their weight behind Okonjo-Iweala to head the World Trade Organization (WTO) against Yoo Myung-hee, her South Korean counterpart.

Okonjo-Iweala and Yoo Myung-hee made it to the final stage of the election among eight other candidates.

Roberto Azevedo, the former DG of the WTO stepped down from his post in August, a year before the end of his tenure.

The WTO was established in 1995 to deal with the global rules of trade, pushing for a coherent and smooth regulation of trade among nations of the world.




This report was reviewed when it became clear that the decision to elect the next director-general of the WTO has been shifted to November 9.


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