Okonjo Iweala Clinches WTO Top Position, Announcement Postponed Till After US Presidential Elections As Trump Opposes Her Nomination

Nigerian former finance minister Dr Okonjo Iweala on consensus clinched the top position as the Director General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) but U.S. has vetoed her appointment.

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala's appointment as the World Trade Organisation's director-general after a hotly contested race was hailed as an African first.

The former Nigerian finance minister's win was opposed by the United States representative, who said President Donald Trump's administration will not recognise Okonjo-Iweala as the consensus candidate.

The announcement of Okonjo-Iweala as the new director-general is now postponed until after the United States presidential elections.

The U.S. representative at WTO took to the floor to insist that South Korea’s candidate remained a contender, and that Washington will not recognise Okonjo-Iweala as the consensus candidate for appointment as director-general.

Therefore, the General Counsel has postponed its announcement of the new Director-General until a further meeting, which is scheduled for 9 November; after the US presidential elections.

A panel at the WTO recommended her today for the position.

Today’s announcement that Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is to be the new director-general of the World Trade Organization would have been a tremendous boost for Africa and lines her up for one of the toughest jobs in the international system.

Sources in Geneva say that she had won the support from the vast majority of member states, including the EU, Japan and China, but not the United States.

She will have to lead the charge for a revival of multilateralism, in the negotiating chambers of the WTO and for a better deal for developing economies, as well as for the practical matter of how reforming trade and patent rules can allow the distribution of life saving vaccines and therapeutics as the coronavirus pandemic rips across the world on its second wave.

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