Nigeria’s Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has been appointed the Director General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
Dr Okonjo-Iweala by the appointment, becomes the first woman to ever lead the Switzerland-based institution and the first African to take on the role.
In October, her WTO candidacy was supported by all geographic regions at the trade body apart from the United States, where the then-Trump administration said it would continue backing the Korean candidate.
However, Okonjo-Iweala’s appointment was cleared when President Joe Biden announced a few days ago his support for the 66-year old.
The WTO is at a crossroads after many countries seemed to take a step back from long-standing norms governing international trade. In addition, its appellate body has been paralyzed for months after the U.S. — again, under the Trump administration — prevented the appointment of new judges therefore rendering it unable to rule on any trade disputes.
“My vision is also of a rejuvenated and strengthened WTO that will be confident to tackle effectively ongoing issues,” Okonjo-Iweala told WTO members during a hearing in July.
“It is clear that a rules-based system without a forum in which a breach of the rules can be effectively arbitrated loses credibility over time,” she said at the same hearing.