US holds up announcement of Okonjo-Iweala as WTO boss

The United States is holding up the official announcement of Nigeria’s Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala as the new boss of the World Trade Organisation.

On Wednesday Okonjo-Iweala secured majority of votes to become the first African to head the World Trade Organization.

Member countries in the European Union and ECOWAS all endorsed her candidacy.

Okonjo-Iweala who was the only African left in the race beat South Korea’s Yoo Myung-hee for the top role.

But the United States’ opposition to her candidacy forced the General Counsel to postpone its announcement of the new Director-General.

A further meeting will now take place on November 9; after the US presidential elections to complete the process.

WTO spokesman, Keith Rockwell, was quoted by AFP as saying that “One delegation could not support the candidacy of Dr. Ngozi and said they would continue (supporting) South Korean minister Yoo. That delegation was the United States of America.”

Once the process is completed next month, Okonjo-Iweala should succeed Brazilian Roberto Azevedo, who unexpectedly left the WTO at the end of August, a year early.

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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