Okonjo-Iweala Pledges WTO's Support For Nigeria

The Director-General of the World Trade Organisation, Nigerian-born Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, says she is not interested in contesting the 2023 presidential election, describing the speculation as “utterly ridiculous and not true.”

Okonjo-Iweala spoke in reaction to the rumour that she is reportedly mulling the possibility of resigning her WTO job barely seven months into her 4 1/2-year term.

Rather, she said, “I just got here. I am enjoying what I’m doing. It is a very exciting job and I am trying to have some successes here.”

According to the Bloomberg News which broke the news, the WTO boss began the year with “a plan to score quick negotiating victories that she said would help reboot the dysfunctional Geneva-based trade body;” but she has fully grasped the frustrating reality of the WTO’s historical inertia.

The New York-based medium quoted five trade officials in Geneva who declined to be identified.

This year, Okonjo-Iweala has repeatedly told ambassadors and staff that she could easily walk away from the job, and reminds them she hasn’t bought any furniture for her temporary home in Geneva, the officials said.

The true test of Okonjo-Iweala’s leadership will come in November, when she hosts the WTO’s 12th ministerial conference — a gathering of the organisation’s highest decision-making body, Bloomberg states; noting that, to date, WTO members have failed to make significant headway on the three priority areas Okonjo-Iweala identified for potential outcomes at the biennial meeting.

They are an agreement to curb harmful fishery subsidies; a pledge to reduce trade-distorting agricultural policies; and a framework to expand global trade in vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics.

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