The authority of Heads of State and Government of Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) have jointly endorsed the candidature of Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala for the position of Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
In its communique signed by ECOWAS Chairman, President Mahamadou Issofou of Niger, called on other African countries as well as non-African members to endorse her candidature.
Ambassador David Walker, Chairman of the General Council of WTO, has announced the commencement of processes for the appointment of a new D-G with opening and closing dates of nomination set for June 8 to July 8, 2020, respectively.
The Federal Government of Nigeria has formally nominated Dr Okonjo-Iweala for the D-G position for the period 2021-2025.
It noted that since the creation of WTO on January 1, 1995, which is a successor to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), and established on January 1, 1948, no African has ever assumed the position of D-G of WTO.
The communique acknowledges the strong academic and professional background of the nominee and her very long experience in national affairs as Nigeria’s Finance Minister (2003-2006 and 2011-2015) and Nigeria’s Foreign Affairs Minister briefly in 2006.
It said her long years of managerial experience at the top echelon of multilateral institutions, her established reputation as a fearless reformer, her excellent negotiation and political skills, her experience over 30 years as development economist with a long standing interest in trade, her excellent academic qualification, her position as Managing Director of the World Bank and currently the Board Chair of GAVI and the African Union Special Envoy to mobilise financial resources for the fight against COVID-19 pandemic.
It said these attributes made the nominee a strong contender and urged all to rally support for her.