Okonjo-Iweala secures EU backing, now favourite for WTO top job

Okonjo-Iweala secures EU backing, now favourite for WTO top job

A former Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is almost certain to claim the position of Director General of the World Trade Organization (WTO) after receiving the backing of the European Union (EU).

1st News can report that EU ambassadors have reached a consensus to back Okonjo-Iweala for the role.

Further, the decision of the powerful European bloc to throw its weight behind the Nigerian candidate has reportedly been confirmed by two top officials of the EU. Equally important, the decision is expected to be communicated today, Tuesday, October 27 in Geneva, Switzerland.

Politico reports that Europe had previously had trouble reaching a common position on the two remaining candidates. The race for the WTO DG had come down to a straight fight between Okonjo-Iweala or South Korea’s Yoo Myung-hee. The majority had reportedly wanted to support Okonjo-Iweala for the coveted job. However, the medium reports that a group of Eastern European and Baltic nations had expressed opposition to it.

ALSO READ: Okonjo-Iweala: Former Finance Minister WTO candidacy endorsed by 79 countries


Consequently, the situation had seen it take longer to arrive at a consensus candidate.

In order to break the impasse, EU ambassadors had again discussed the appointment on Monday morning. This was after EU trade diplomats failed to reach a consensus at their meeting on Friday, October 23. During the meeting on Monday morning, two countries – Hungary and Latvia – failed to agree on the choice of Okonjo-Iweala. It took another meeting of EU ambassadors on Monday evening for all EU countries to back Okonjo-Iweala.

1st News reports that the decision on the new WTO Director General will be taken on Saturday, November 7.

Okonjo-Iweala enjoyed a stellar 25-year career at the World Bank as a development economist. She rose through the ranks to the position of Managing Director, Operations (2007–2011). Also, she served two terms as Finance Minister (2003–2006, 2011–2015) under the leadership of President Olusegun Obasanjo; as well as President Goodluck Jonathan respectively.

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