Former Nigerian Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is now appointed as Director General of World Trade Organisation (WTO) 2021.
Here are six Powerful things to know about Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala as WTO DG:
1. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala was born on 13 June 1954 in Ogwashi-Ukwu, Delta State, Nigeria where her father Professor Chukwuka Okonjo was the Obi (King) from the Obahai Royal Family of Ogwashi-Ukwu.
2. She sits on the Boards of Standard Chartered Bank, Twitter, Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI), and the African Risk Capacity (ARC).
3. She boasts of a 25-year career at the World Bank as a development economist, scaling the ranks to the number 2 position as Managing Director, Operations (2007–2011).
4. Okonjo was the first woman to become Finance Minister of Nigeria, and first woman to serve in that office twice. In 2005, Euromoney named her global Finance Minister of the year. She served two terms as Finance Minister of Nigeria (2003–2006, 2011–2015) under President Olusegun Obasanjo and President Goodluck Jonathan respectively.
5. Okonjo-Iweala attended her secondary school at Queen’s School, Enugu, St. Anne’s School, Molete, Ibadan and the International School Ibadan. She arrived in the US in 1973 as a teenager to study at Harvard University, graduating magna cum laude with an AB in Economics in 1976. In 1981, she earned her PhD in regional Economics and Development from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) with a thesis titled Credit policy, rural financial markets, and Nigeria’s agricultural development. She received an international fellowship from the American Association of University Women (AAUW), that supported her doctoral studies.
6. On February 15, 2021, she was appointed as the Director-General the World Trade Organisation with her term commencing on 1 March 2021, making her the first woman and the first African to occupy the position.
I feel honoured to lead WTO, says Okonjo-Iweala
The first female Director General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has declared she is honoured to have been selected to lead the organisation.
“I am honoured to have been selected by WTO members as WTO Director-General,” Okonjo-Iweala said on Monday afternoon.
A strong WTO is vital if we are to recover fully and rapidly from the devastation wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I look forward to working with members to shape and implement the policy responses we need to get the global economy going again.
Our organisation faces a great many challenges but working together we can collectively make the WTO stronger, more agile and better adapted to the realities of today.”
Okonjo-Iweala was appointed the DG on Monday after months of uncertainty at the trade body.
The WTO thanked the former Minister for her graciousness and patience through the selection process.
This is a very significant moment for the WTO. On behalf of the General Council, I extend our warmest congratulations to Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala on her appointment as the WTO’s next Director-General and formally welcome her to this General Council meeting,” said David Walker, the General Council chair, said.
“Dr Ngozi, on behalf of all members I wish to sincerely thank you for your graciousness in these exceptional months, and for your patience.
We look forward to collaborating closely with you, Dr Ngozi, and I am certain that all members will work with you constructively during your tenure as Director-General to shape the future of this organisation,” he added.
Walker, who is from New Zealand, worked with co-facilitators Dacio Castillo (Honduras) and Harald Aspelund (Iceland) through the nine-month DG selection process.