Home Economy FG to lobby relevant stakeholders to secure United States endorsement of Okonjo-Iweala

FG to lobby relevant stakeholders to secure United States endorsement of Okonjo-Iweala

by Business News Report

Federal Government has said that it is working with relevant stakeholders to secure the United States’ support for Nigeria’s candidate, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala for the World Trade Organisation’s Director General position. A statement by Ferdinand Nwonye, spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Abuja said the government wishes to inform that the third and final round of the selection process of the Director-General of WTO was concluded on Tuesday, 27th October, 2020 and the result was formally announced on Wednesday, 28th October, 2020. 

He said “The candidate from Nigeria, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has secured the support of majority of the member countries but is yet to be declared and returned the winner. This is because apart from winning the election, all the 164 Member States of WTO were expected to adopt the winner by consensus, in accordance with the rule of procedure of the WTO. It is important to highlight that Dr. Okonjo-Iweala has secured cross-regional backing with only the United States opposing the consensus. 

“The Ministry wishes to further inform that a meeting of the General Council of the WTO has been scheduled for November 9, 2020 for the final decision on the election process. Nigeria will continue to engage relevant stakeholders to ensure that the lofty aspiration of her candidate to lead the World Trade Organization is realised,” he said.

The United States had told a meeting of the World Trade Organisation on Wednesday that it does not back Nigeria’s Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala as the next WTO leader, despite cross-regional support for her. The move could undermine the global trade body as it seeks to select a successor to director general Roberto Azevedo, who stepped down in August.

A key group of WTO ambassadors had proposed Nigeria’s Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala to be the next head of the World Trade Organisation, a WTO spokesman said on but the United States said it could not endorse her. The recommendation, confirming news earlier reported by Reuters, needs clearance from all 164 WTO members. If appointed, the former Nigerian finance minister would become the first woman and African to head the global trade watchdog in its 25-year history. The WTO spokesman said that her candidacy would be put to a General Council of the WTO on Nov. 9 for endorsement and that there was likely to be “frenzied activity” before then to secure the required consensus.

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