Nigerian former minister of finance and a former Managing Director of the World Bank Dr Okonjo Iweala, has been tipped by many stakeholder powerful countries to emerge the Director-General of the World Trade Organisation, WTO, which will be vacated in August by Brazil’s Roberto Azevêdo.
She is contesting the powerful position of the World Trade Organisation with other influential personalities in world global economic affairs among who are She is ranged against Mexico’s Jesús Seade Kuri and Egypt’s Abdel-Hamid Mamdouh who pack equally intimidating credentials in the international finance system with widespread experience in the processes of the World Bank, WTO, General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, GATT, among others.
It would be recalled that Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, in 2012 vied for the presidency of the World Bank but gallantly lost to American physician, Jim Yong Kim.
Okonjo-Iweala, a former Managing Director of the World Bank and two-time Finance Minister of Nigeria, is a candidate for the post of Director-General of the World Trade Organisation, WTO, which will be vacated in August by Brazil’s Roberto Azevêdo. Earlier, Egypt had written a protest letter asking for Okonjo-Iweala’s disqualification as Nigeria had earlier supported the candidacy of Yonov Frederick Agah, but the Organisation ignored it and confirmed her candidacy. The Federal Government obviously took this step to brighten Nigeria’s chance of success. The government of President Muhammadu Buhari has thrown its weight behind her candidacy showing its support for her.
In terms of experience, qualification, exposure, connections and world influence, Okonjo-Iweala eminently beats them all, apart from Seade Kuri, who rivals her in that pedigree. But Egypt’s Mamdouh does not quite hit the mark though he has very respectable credentials. Kuri has been intimately involved in most of the processes that made world trade as managed through multi-lateral platforms such the WTO and GATT what they are today. On the other hand, Okonjo-Iweala, who earned the respect of stakeholders in the international finance system as a former managing director of the World Bank and a high-flying financial engineer and economic reformer in Nigeria is a hot cake.
Some of her current positions on the international scene include; a member on the board of Twitter, Standard Chartered Bank a member of the presidential economic council in South Africa, the African Risk Capacity, ARC, and leads the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization, GAVI.
In a fast changing dynamic world with sudden new world order and social economic disruption caused by the covid-19 pandemic, World trade does not need the same old bureaucratic process the WTO needs new perspectives and fresh hands to moderate the altercations of the world’s two main economic superpowers – the United States of America and China, for the good of all.
If she eventually wins, this will be the first time an African black woman will head the organization.