Black Excellence: Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala Becomes The New Director-General Of The World Trade Organization

by Duke Magazine

Nigeria’s Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has won the seat of the new Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO). The lustrous feat that makes her to historically become the first African and first woman to assume the exalted position.

Earlier today, a panel at the WTO recommended her for the office at the United Nations.

In her new office, the Nigerian woman will champion the charge for a revival of multilateralism in negotiating chambers of the WTO and for a better deal for developing economies, as well as for the practical matter of how reforming trade and patent rules can allow the distribution of life saving vaccines and therapeutics as the coronavirus pandemic rips across the world on its second wave.

As the first woman and African to head the trade body, Okonjo-Iweala has had a stellar success in her career. She also has a chance to put Africa’s plans to build the world’s biggest free trade area on the top table, pointing to the productive and market opportunities on the continent.

At the same time, she has won the race for the job amid great contenders. That much was clear when her predecessor Brazil’s Robert Azevêdo quit the post early after years of frustration at the logjams in negotiation on reforming the WTO.

Those negotiations have been made harder still by the eruption of a trade war between the U.S and China alongside sporadic outbreaks of economic nationalism across the globe.

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