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WTO: Okonjo-Iweala’s appointment will bring opportunities for Nigeria, Africa- Don

By Mustapha Sumaila [NAN]

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Prof. Mustapha Mukhtar of Economics Department, Bayero University, Kano says Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala’s appointment as Director-General of World Trade Organisation (WTO) will bring more opportunities for Nigeria and Africa.

Mukhtar said this while reacting to the appointment in a telephone interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday.

NAN reports that Okonjo-Iweala was appointed the seventh DG of the WTO on Monday, making her the first woman and the first African to head the multilateral trade body.

Her tenure would commence from March 1, 2021 to Aug. 31, 2025.

The decision was taken by consensus at a special meeting on Monday at the organisation’s General Council.

In October, her WTO candidacy was supported by all geographic regions at the trade body apart from the United States.

The university don said the appointment had given Nigeria and indeed Africa a full and strong representation not only at WTO but other fora like G7, G20 and International Monetary Fund (IMF) conferences among others.

He said his expectation was that henceforth Africa would be benefiting in terms of trade disputes and other matters relating to trading since the continent was well represented.

According to him, going by the track record of the new WTO DG, her appointment will have multiplier effects in terms of poverty reduction, job creation and improvement in foreign exchange.

He noted that with her wealth of experience, Okonjo-Iweala would work hard to bring up policies to improve trade in Nigeria, on the continent and indeed in the world.

Mukhtar advised her to be fair and just to all member nations in all WTO activities, adding that members should be given fair playing ground in trade disputes and settlement.

He urged the first woman director general to transform the organisation for better based on the global macroeconomic dynamics in line with best practices.

“I am very happy and overwhelmed that an African woman and indeed a Nigerian have been appointed to steer the affairs of WTO.

“This Okonjo-Iweala’s appointment will upgrade the status of Africa as we can now play in the same league with the rest of the world. In fact, it is an honour to Nigeria,” he said. (NAN)

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