March 28, 2023

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It has happened for the first time since the “Early Modern History” that a woman has been appointed as the lead for World Trade Organization. The name of the woman is NgoziOkonjo-Iweala, who is from one of the highest populated countries in Africa “Nigeria”.

Not just the first woman but Ngozi is also the first black woman from Africa that has become the leader in the World Trade Organization. It has been revealed that Ngozi was up against another candidate for the same position who was from South Korea. However, Ngozi ended up earning the spot as the South Korean candidate pulled out of the competition for the same post.

The name of the candidate from South Korea was Yoo Myung-hee, who is the trade minister in South Korea. Myung-hee announced her withdrawal decision from the candidacy on February 5, 2021, through a televised briefing.

As for Okonjo-Iweala, she was formerly the finance minister of Nigeria and is currently an economist. It was reported that OkonjoIweala was already well-received by the WTO members. She was one of the most liked and highly supported candidates by the WTO members including Australia, China, Japan, and the European Union.

However, it was revealed that the United States of America was supporting the South Korean candidate Yoo under Donald Trump’s administration. This resulted in the decision process being delayed as all the WTO members are required to make a unanimous decision. Unless a unanimous decision has been made, the leader for the World Trade Organization cannot be selected.

Now that Donald Trump has left the office, all Okonjo-Iweala needs is to wait until the United States appoints its new trade representative. Once the new trade representative for the United States is selected, Okonjo-Iweala will be formally selected as the lead for World Trade Organization.

The South Korean candidate Yoo stated that she decided to step down from the candidacy after having to go through a consultation with the United States of America. She stated that it had been so long that the World Trade Organization (WTO) had no leader.

It had been a while since the Geneva-based body had been vacant for such a long time, after Roberto Azevedo’s early step-down a year earlier than planned as the director-general.

Azevedo made the decision of stepping down from his post back in August of 2020, amid the trade fight that was taking place between China and the US.

As a result of the above, the WTO was without a leader for such a long time until now. All of the WTO members have really high hopes for the Okonjo-Iweala and they are confident that she would deliver.

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