Nigerian Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala Makes History As WTO's First African and Woman Leader

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has been named the new head of the World Trade Organization(WTO). An economist from Harvard University, a citizen of the Nigeria and United States, she previously served as Nigeria's finance minister and as managing director of the World Bank.

There have been issues over the choice of candidacy as the Trump administration, the former US President blocked Ngozi's candidacy and throw its support behind another candidate, South Korea Trade Minister Yoo Myung-hee. She withdrew her candidacy on 5 February.

The US President Joe Biden throws his support for Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala's candidacy on Friday. The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative announced on behalf of President Joe Biden's administration.


Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, who served in Goodluck Jonathan Government as  Nigerian finance minister twice, was appointed Monday to be the next director-general of the World Trade Organization. She is the first African and the first female to lead the body, which governs trade rules between nations of the world.

Ngozi said "It is done! Thank you @WTO members for finalizing my election today and making history. In the 73 years of GATT and WTO, honored to be First Woman and First African to lead. But now the real work begins. Ready to tackle the challenges of WTO. Forget Business as usual!" 

The WTO vacancy was created in May 2020 when former Director-General Roberto Azevêdo of Brazil announced he was stepping aside a year before his tenure was set to expire.

Okonjo-Iweala officially takes over the WTO's director-general position on March 1. Her term is set to go through August 2025.

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