Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala Photo/Courtesy/ WTO
Go ye therefore and deliver. Show the world how it is done when woman is on top
If there is one woman who has shattered the glass ceiling, then that is none other than Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.
The former Nigerian Finance Minister’s recent appointment to be the Director General of the of the 164-member World Trade Organisation (WTO) is no mean achievement. She will be the first female and African boss of the world trade body from March 1, 2021 to August 31, 2025.
Dr Okonjo-Iweala is the former Finance Minister of Nigeria and World Bank specialist in development economics for 25 years.
Washington, under the Donald Trump-administration, had blocked Okonjo-Iweala’s appointment in October despite strong endorsement from almost all WTO members. However, the new administration under Joe Biden extended their support for Dr Okonjo-Iweala earlier this month. The South Korea’s candidate-Yoo Myung-hee- Trump administration had been supporting withdrew from the race following this move.
As the Guardian columnist Larry Elliott pointed out in his latest Viewpoint column, heading the WTO is not a walk in the park as the two former bosses Robert Azevedo and Pascal Lamy really struggled to make progress with trade liberisations. While most of us may agree that the organization needs urgent reforms to remain effective, hopefully Dr Okonjo-Iweala has all her plans set to address this and many other sticky issues at WTO like reducing the gap between rich and poor countries plus concluding trade negotiations round of global talks. She is taking over the organization at a time when Covid-19 pandemic crisis has affected the global economy thereby bringing out the WTO declining health into focus. It can be argued that global trade body is in good hands since Dr Okonjo-Iweala is a known reformer who not only won significant reductions in Nigeria’s international debt obligations while serving as the Finance Minister but also spearheaded several initiatives while at the World Bank to assist low income countries. African Ringer wishes you the best of luck Dr Okonjo-Iweala. Go ye therefore and deliver. Show the world how it is done when woman is on top.