[By VICTOR NZE]
Former Minister of Finance and Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has expressed gratitude to the United States over fresh decision to back the her candidacy for the job of Director General of the World Trade Organization (WTO), after months of stonewalling by the American government.
Outgone U.S president, Donald trump had rejected Okonjo-Iweala in preference for the South Korean candidate, Yoo Myung-hee, even after her country withdrew candidacy leaving the Nigerian the sole candidate for the job.
However, the newly-inaugurated Joe Biden administration, Friday, reversed that position as it threw its full weight behind Okonjo-Iweala, in a move which signaled the administration’s policy shift towards Africa relations.
The US affirmed it would now support Okonjo-Iweala as the next director-general of the WTO.
In a statement, the US Trade Representative’s office said that Okonjo-Iweala “brings a wealth of knowledge in economics and international diplomacy from her 25 years with the World Bank and two terms as Nigerian Finance Minister.
“It is particularly important to underscore that two highly qualified women made it to the final round of consideration for the position of WTO Director General—the first time that any woman has made it to this stage in the history of the institution,” the statement said.
Okonjo-Iweala reacting to the development via her Twitter handle (@NOIweala), thanking the US government as well as the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari for their support.
‘‘Grateful for the expression of support from the US today for DG @WTO. Congratulations to Madam Yoo of Rep. Korea for a hard fought campaign. Thank You President Muhammadu Buhari @MBuhari & all Nigerians for your unflinching support. Thank you friends. Love to my family. Glory to God,’’ said Okonjo-Iweala, Friday.
Okonjo-Iweala is expected to fully ratified for the position during the WTO Ceneral council meeting in March, this year.