World Trade Organisation (WTO) yesterday said it had received the nomination of Nigeria’s former Minister of Finance and former Managing Director (Operations) of the World Bank, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, for the position of its director general.

According to analysts, the former minister is widely regarded as a front runner in the leadership race at WTO, given statements by local and international experts and analysis by influential media platforms.
The Geneva-based global trade body, in a three-paragraph statement on its website yesterday, said: “Nigeria nominates Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala for post of WTO Director-General.

“Nigeria, on 9 June 2020, nominated Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala for the post of WTO Director-General to succeed the current Director-General, Mr. Roberto Azevêdo, who has announced he will step down on 31 August 2020.

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“According to the timetable announced by the Chair of the General Council, David Walker, the nomination period will close on 8 July 2020.
“Shortly after the nomination period has closed, candidates will be invited to meet with members at a special General Council meeting, present their views and take questions from the membership.”

On same day, WTO added that Egypt, which is opposed to Okonjo-Iweala’s nomination, has nominated Mr. Abdel-Hamid Mamdouh for the same position.
Egypt had opposed the nomination of Okonjo-Iweala on the ground that it was belated.
The North African country told members of the African Union that her nomination should not be recognised.

In a letter to the African Union (AU) member-states, Egypt had contended that her nomination was out of time and therefore breached the rules of nomination, which import they said, was that Nigeria no longer had a candidate for the position.

It said AU member-states had been required to nominate candidates for the director general position by November 30, 2019, over five months ago, while the request to substitute Yonok Frederick Agah was made on June 4, 2020.

Mexico had on Monday nominated Mr. Jesús Seade Kuri for the same position.
President Muhammadu Buhari, last week, had approved Okonjo-Iweala’s nomination and withdrew the candidacy of Agah, Nigeria’s permanent representative to WTO for the same position.

Okonjo-Iweala is a renowned global finance expert, an economist and international development professional with over 30 years of experience, having worked in Asia, Africa, Europe, Latin America, and North America.

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