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WTO election: EU endorses Nigeria’s Okonjo-Iweala, as US backs her South Korean counterpart

ALL 27 European Union (EU) governments have thrown their weight behind Nigeria’s Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala to head the World Trade Organization (WTO) against Yoo Myung-hee, her South Korean counterpart.

Myung-hee, South Korea’s trade chief, who is also the only other contender for the position of heading the global trade body, has gained the support of the United States (US), Bloomberg reports.

Both women are the two left in a race of becoming the director-general of WTO – a race that began with eight contestants from different countries across the world.

At a time of uncertainty – the coronavirus pandemic and waged trade war between the US and China, the future DG, who is to be elected by November 7 has a huge task ahead.

Roberto Azevedo, the former DG of the global trade body stepped down in August – a year before the end of his tenure, giving rise to the need for a new lead especially as the Geneva-based trade body faces unprecedented times.

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

Presently, the organisation has 164-member nations and 24 observer governments.

Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari has assured Okonjo-Iweala,  of the country’s full support.

“I assure you that we will do all that we can to ensure that you emerge as the Director-General of WTO, not only because you are a Nigerian, but because you are a hardworking Nigerian. You deserve this,’’ Buhari said.

Okonjo-Iweala has also gained the support of powerful bodies including the Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS), which has other African and non-African countries to support her candidature.

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If appointed, she would become the first woman and African to lead the most influential global trading organisation.

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