UPDATED: Nigeria’s Okonjo-Iweala ‘Elected’ World Trade Organisation DG
Nigeria’s former Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has defeated South Korea’s Trade Minister, Yoo Myung-hee, to win the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Director-General seat, multiple media reports claimed on Wednesday, Oct. 28.
She reportedly secured 104 votes from 164 member countries to emerge winner in the highly competitive race.Index Credit: The Cable
The WTO is expected to officially announce Okonjo-Iweala’s victory at 3:00pm West African time.
This story is developing…
Contrary to our earlier report, Okonjo-Iweala is yet to be elected the WTO Director-General, at least not officially, but she became the most favoured candidate for the job on Wednesday after a key group of WTO ambassadors (164 member countries) chose her to lead the organization.
According to AFP, the WTO spokesman, Keith Rockwell, clarified that the meeting held by the organization’s General Council on Wednesday “was never intended to make a final decision on our next DG.”
The Council Chairman, David Walker, who spoke after the meeting confirmed that Okonjo-Iweala is coasting to victory.
“The candidate that had the best chance of attaining a consensus of the membership is Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala of Nigeria. Consultations on the way fwd will start immediately”, a statement published on Twitter quoted Walker as saying
After the meeting WTO spokesperson Keith Rockwell summed up the announcement by GC Chair Walker: “The candidate that had the best chance of attaining a consensus of the membership is Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala of Nigeria. Consultations on the way fwd will start immediately", he said
— WTO (@wto) October 28, 2020
Meanwhile, the United States opposed Okonjo-Iweala’s candidacy at the meeting and sided with her South Korean opponent, Yoo Myung-hee. With the US move, the WTO’s 164 member countries would need to determine whether they would still support Okonjo-Iweala.
The next General Council meeting, where the final candidate is expected be announced is slated for November 9.
Recall that the 27-member states of the European Union also declared their support for the former World Bank director on Monday, as well as the 55-member African Union who earlier okayed her for the job. Also, she had been endorsed by a group of Caribbean and Pacific States as well as others from Asia.
If announced the winner, Okonjo-Iweala will become the first woman and African to hold the position.
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