WTO: US declares support for Okonjo-Iweala

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The United States government on Friday declared its “strong support” for Nigeria’s former Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, to lead the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

The US Trade Representative in a statement confirming President Joe Biden administration’s support for the Nigerian candidate, said the former World Bank’s managing director has a “wealth of knowledge in economics and international diplomacy.”

“She had proven experience managing a large international organization,” the statement added.

Former President Donald Trump’s administration had last year rejected Okonjo-Iweala’s nomination for the WTO’s top job and declared its support for her South Korean rival, Yoo Myung-hee.

However, the South Korean Trade Minister withdrew from the race on Friday, leaving the Nigerian as the sole candidate for the position which became vacant in August last year after Brazilian diplomat, Roberto Avezedo, stepped down from the seat.

The African Union, the European Union, and several countries in America had earlier endorsed Okonjo-Iweala for the WTO’s director-general’s position.

She heads the GAVI vaccine alliance and serves as special envoy for the World Health Organisation’s COVID-19 campaign.

Okonjo-Iweala was two-time Minister of Finance in Nigeria under ex-Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo and Goodluck Jonathan.

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