ECOWAS Endorses Okonjo-Iweala As World Trade Organisation DG
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), has endorsed the candidature of Nigeria’s former Minister of Finance and a onetime Managing Director, Operations, World Bank, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, for the position of the Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
The regional body’s approval of Okonjo-Iweala candidature is contained in a statement signed by the President of ECOWAS, who is also the President of Niger Republic Mahamadou Issoufou.
The 15-member body urged other African and non- African countries to also approve her candidature for the job.
According to ECOWAS, “Since the creation of the WTO on January 1, 1995, which is a successor to the General Agreement on Tariff and Trade (GATT) established on January 1, 1948; no African has assumed the position of Director-General of the organisation.”
Recalled that on June 4, 2020,Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari approved the nomination of Okonjo-Iweala; former Coordinating Minister for the Nigeria’s Economy, for WTO job.
The nomination has also been commended by top officials including Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, former Liberian president.
Issoufou said ECOWAS Heads of State and Government acknowledged the nomination of Okonjo-Iweala as Nigeria’s candidate.
He stated that ECOWAS leadership considered among others Okonjo-Iweala’s “established reputation as a fearless reformer, excellent negotiating and political skills and her experience of over 30 years”.
“The ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government takes note of the communication by the Chairman of the General Council of the World Trade Organization (WTO) announcing the commencement of a process for the appointment of a new Director-General of VVTO, with the opening and closing dates of nominations set as 8 June and 8 July 2020 respectively
“Takes into account that since the creation of the World Trade Organization (WTO) on 1, January 1995, which is a successor to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) established on 1, January 1948, no African has assumed the position of Director-General of the Organization.
“Having further acknowledged her long years of managerial experience at the top echelons of multilateral institutions; ECOWAS endorses the candidature of Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-lweala for the position of Director-General of the World Trade Organization for the period 2021-2025; and calls on other African countries as well as non-African countries to endorse her candidature,” the statement reads.
ECOWAS is made up of 15 members, which include: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Cote d’Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana and Guinea.
Others are: Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, and Togo.