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WTO job: ECOWAS endorses Okonjo-Iweala, snubs AU

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The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has thrown its weight behind the candidature of former Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala for the top job of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

The regional body claimed that no African has assumed the position of Director-General of the Organisation since its creation on 1st January 1995.

A statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs disclosed that the decision has the blessing of its highest body, the ECOWAS authority of Heads of States and Government.

The body called on other African countries as well as non-African countries to endorse her candidature.

The statement, captured by Nation, reads:

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs wishes to inform that the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government have endorsed the candidature of Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala for the position of Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO), for the period 2021-2025.

“The apex body noted that since the creation of the 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 Organisation.

“The ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government endorsed the Candidate of Nigeria noting:

“Her long years of managerial experience at the top echelons of multilateral institutions, her established reputation as a fearless reformer, her excellent negotiating and political skills, her experience of over 30 years as a Development Economist with a long standing interest in trade, her excellent academic qualifications, her positions as Managing Director World Bank, and currently as Board Chair Gavi, and AU Special Envoy to Mobilise Financial Resources for the fight against Covid19”.

“The body also called on other African countries as well as non-African countries to endorse her candidature.”

ElombahNews had reported that Dr. Okonjo-Iweala was disqualified by the African Union from vying for the office of the Director General of the World Trade Organisation, SaharaReporters has reported.

According to the online media, the Executive Council of the AU in July 2019 invited member states to present nominations into the office of the DG of the WTO so that the AU would agree on a consensus candidature.

Nigeria initially nominated Fedrick Agah while Benin and Egypt fielded Messrs Eloi Laourou and Abdulhameed Mamdouh respectively.

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