WTO: Director-general Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala to become the first African woman.

Africa International International News

South Korea’s Trade Minister, Yoo Myung-hee, has abandoned her bid to head the World Trade Organization, following consultation with her chief backer, the United States. No explanation has been offered.

Twice Nigeria’s finance minister and its first woman foreign minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has been described as a trailblazer.

The 66-year-old is looking to make more history as she bids to become the first African and woman to head the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Aside from her time in public office, the development economist had a quarter-century at the World Bank — rising to be managing director and running for the top role in 2012.

“I think she has delivered, whether in Nigeria or in other countries where she worked,” Idayat Hassan of the Centre for Democracy and Development research and advocacy group told AFP.

Born in 1954 in Ogwashi Ukwu, in Delta State, western Nigeria, her father is a traditional ruler. She spent much of her life in the United States, graduating from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Harvard, where she sent her four children.

“She is not just liked in Nigeria, she is loved, because she is a symbol, and people are gunning for her because of what she represents for womanhood,” said Hassan.

US Support:

President Joe Biden’s administration on Friday offered its “strong support” to Nigeria’s Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala to lead the World Trade Organization (WTO).

The move marks another sharp split with former president Donald Trump who paralyzed the organization and opposed the former Nigerian finance minister who was backed by many other countries.

The US Trade Representative in a statement cited her “wealth of knowledge in economics and international diplomacy” and said she had “proven experience managing a large international organization.”


Born 1954 in Nigeria

Studied at Harvard 1973-76 and earned a PhD at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1981

Spent 25 years at the World Bank, rising to the No.2 position as managing director (2007-11)

Twice Nigerian finance minister – 2003-2006 and 2011-2015 – and the first woman to hold the post

Served briefly as foreign minister in 2006, also the first woman to do so

Sits on the boards of Twitter, Standard Chartered Bank and the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI)

Nominated by President Mohammadu Buhari as candidate for director-general of the WTO in June 2020.

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