News Update

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala Becomes First Female To Head World Trade Organisation

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala from Nigeria was appointed on February 15 as the first female and first African head of the beleaguered World Trade Organization, saying a more robust WTO would be vital for the global coronavirus recovery.

The global trade body had a virtual special general council meeting. Member states officially selected the former Nigerian finance minister and World Bank veteran as its new director-general.

The near-paralysed institution desperately needs a reboot — something Okonjo-Iweala immediately addressed after her coronation.

“A strong WTO is vital if we are to recover fully and rapidly from the devastation wrought by the Covid-19 pandemic,” the 66-year-old economist said in a statement.

“I look forward to working with members to shape and implement the policy responses we need to get the global economy going again.

“Our organisation faces a great many challenges but working together we can collectively make the WTO stronger, more agile and better adapted to the realities of today.”

Okonjo-Iweala will take up her post on March 1, and her renewable term will run until August 31, 2025.