Report: European Union backs Ngozi-Iweala to lead WTO

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The European Union (EU) has concluded its decision to support Nigeria’s candidate, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala for the role of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) director-general.

According to Reuters, an EU official was quoted saying the decision is a strong signal to reinforce the multilateral order and a sign of mutual trust between the bloc and Africa.

Recall that Ngozi and Yoo Myung-hee, South Korea’s candidate had previously been the EU’s two most preferred candidates in the selection process that began on 7 September when member countries started indicating their preferred candidates.

READ ALSO: Ngozi Iweala closed door meeting with President Buhari at Aso Rock

The European Parliament, the legislative branch of the EU, had also endorsed Ngozi, saying her “political approach is needed” to resolve the WTO’s challenges and deal with disagreements between its members.

The trade organisation faces dual challenges; criticism from President Donald Trump’s administration which froze its appeals body by blocking its appointment of judges, and worsening US-China trade relations.

It is expected that the next WTO DG will be announced on 7 November.

Ngozi and Myung-hee, are vying to be the first female leader in the WTO’s 25-year history, replacing Brazilian Roberto Azevedo, who stepped down in August; a year before his tenure.

Ngozi is a former managing director of the World Bank and a two-time minister of finance in Nigeria.

She currently chairs the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI) backed by the Bill Gates Foundation.

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