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19 Awards Nigeria’s Nominee, Mrs. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala Has To Make Her Preside Over The WTO Director

The World Trade Organization (WTO) is the only global international organization dealing with the rules of trade between nations. At its heart are the WTO agreements, negotiated and signed by the bulk of the world’s trading nations and ratified in their parliaments. The goal is to ensure that trade flows as smoothly, predictably and freely as possible.

WTO is an independent multilateral body which sets the rules and regulations for global trade and provides the arena for negotiations and dispute settlement.

It can be recalled that the WTO announced that Mr. Roberto Azevêdo, the current WTO Director-General would step down on 31 August, 2020. The post for the new Director General (DG) of the World Trade Organization (WTO) became vacant for candidates to apply. The candidates were nominated by their respective governments for the post of WTO Director-General.

The candidates are listed in the order the nominations were received.

Phase I of the selection process, nomination of candidates, for the new Director General (DG) of the World Trade Organization (WTO) ended on July 8.

WTO members have nominated eight (8) candidates, 3 women and 5 men, and they are as follows:

1.    Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala of Nigeria – specialist in development economics/former Minister of Finance and of Foreign Affairs and World Bank employee

2.    Ms. Yoo Myung-hee of South Korea – Minister of Trade/specialist in international trade

3.    Ms. Amina C. Mohamed Jibril of Kenya – current Government Minister/ former Permanent Representative to the WTO and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade

4.    Dr. Jesús Seade Kuri of Mexico – Diplomat/International trade specialist (GATT/WTO)

5.    Mr. Tudor Ulianovschi of Moldova – Politician/Diplomat – former Permanent Representative to WTO

6.    Mr. Mohammed Maziad Al-Tuwaijri of Saudi Arabia – Banker/Politician

7.    Mr. Abdul-Hameed Mamdouh of Egypt – lawyer/diplomat – former WTO Secretariat employee

8.    Dr. Liam Fox of the United Kingdom – Medical Doctor/Politician/Diplomat – former Secretary (Minister) of International Trade

This is the opportunity for a Nigerian to oversee the World Trade Organization, WTO. This time, the president nominated Dr. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala. {Wise Choice}.

This is a woman I have come to appreciate her success and the pride of place she has bestowed on Nigeria with her professionalism. Dr.. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala has all it takes to preside over the WTO. Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is a Nigerian economist, author and an entrepreneur.

She has been Independent Director of Twitter, Inc. since July 19, 2018, and Senior Advisor of Lazard Ltd since September 21, 2015. Dr. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala has worked with Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and she is also an Adviser to World Bank on the Stolen Assets Recovery initiative. She served as Managing Director at The World Bank Group from December 1, 2007 to August 2011.

Dr. Okonjo-Iweala is the first woman to be the finance minister and the foreign minister of the West African country with a GDP of $502 billion. Before serving as Minister of Foreign Affairs of Nigeria from 2003 to 2006 and Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Honourable Minister of Finance of Nigeria until 2015, she served in a number of important positions at the World Bank such as Vice President and Corporate Secretary, Director of Operations in the Middle East and North Africa region and Country Director for Southeast Asia and Mongolia Country unit. Not too long ago, South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa appoints Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala as a member of the Economic Advisory Council of South Africa. With over 30 years of economic development and financial expertise and as an internationally renowned economist and a prominent African leader/

The Harvard- and M.I.T.-trained Dr. Okonjo-Iweala spent 21 years as a development economist at the World Bank.

Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala Biography

Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala was born to a royal family on the 13th of June, 1954. She hails from Ogwashi-Ukwu, Delta State. Her parents, Chukwuka and Kamene Okonjo were professors at the University of Ibadan. Dr. Okonjo-Iweala’s father is the Obi from the Obahai Royal family of Ogwashi-Ukwu, Delta State.

She had her secondary education at International School Ibadan and St. Anne’s School, Molete, Ibadan. Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala proceeded to Harvard University where she graduated with an AB honours in Economics in 1977. She holds a PhD in Regional Economics and Development from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Dr. Okonjo-Iweala is married to Dr. Ikemba Iweala, a retired neurosurgeon and emergency physician. They are blessed with four children, Uzodinma Iweala, Onyinye Iweala, Uchechi Iweala and Ikechukwu Iweala. One of her sons, Uzodima Iweala is an American author and medical doctor.

Career of Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

Dr. Okonjo-Iweala started out as an intern in World Bank Group. After graduation, she returned to World Bank Group and worked for many years as a development economist. She held the post of Corporate Secretary and Vice President.

Following her role as Vice President, she was appointed as Nigeria’s Finance Minister under President Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration.

Dr. Ngozi Okonjo- Iweala’s impact was felt as the Minister of Finance under President Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration as she and her team carried out notable projects including building electronic financial management platform for government.

Afterwards, she was appointed as a Managing Director of World Bank Group. As the Managing Director, she led several World Bank initiatives to assist low-income countries during food and financial crises.

Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala was reappointed as Finance Minister during President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration, with expanded portfolio of the coordinating Minister of the Economy.

In 2015, she joined Lazard, a financial advisory and asset management firm. She serves as a Senior Advisor in the organization.

Some of Okonjo-Iweala’s Achievements as a Minister

  • Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the minister of finance for Nigeria, has helped the country's economy, the largest in Africa, grow an average of 6% (per annum) over three years. She is credited with developing reform programs that helped improve governmental transparency and stabilizing the economy.
  • She improved macroeconomics management of Nigeria including implementation of an oil-price based fiscal rule.
  • Initiated the practice of publishing federal government’s monthly allocation of each state in newspapers.
  • With support from World Bank and IMF, she built an electronic financial management platform which helped in eliminating many ghost workers in the system; thus saving Nigerian government huge sum of money.
  • Spearheaded the negotiation that closed a deal with the Paris Club wiping out US$30billion Nigerian’s debt.
  • Empowered Nigeria’s women through the Growing Girls and Women in Nigeria Program (GWIN).
  • She was instrumental in boosting Nigeria’s credit rating from Fitch Ratings and Standard & Poor’s.
  • Empowered Nigeria’s youth through Youth Enterprise with Innovation Program (YouWIN). The program support entrepreneurs that create jobs for Nigerians.

Other Interest of Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is also an entrepreneur. She founded NOI Polls, Nigeria’s first indigenous opinion research organisation in 2006. The company partnered with Gallup USA to develop opinion research in Nigeria. NOI Polls provides timely and relevant information on public opinion on various social and economic issues. The company’s focus is on governance issues, market trends, performance of government and private institutions.

She is a public speaker; she has delivered powerful speeches at various events including 2015 Global Landscapes Forum, TED Talk, African Development Bank Group Annual Meetings and 2016 SIPA’s Graduation.

Appointments and Boards where Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala Serves

Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala was appointed as the independent non-executive director at Standard Chartered PLC in July 2017 and also Twitter’s Board of Directors in July 2018.

She chairs a number of boards and advisory groups including Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI), Lionwork Capital, DATA, Nelson Mandela Institution, African University of Science and Technology in Nigeria and African Union’s African Risk Capacity.

Dr. Okonjo-Iweala is a member of Rockefeller Foundation, the Harvard University Advisory Council, the Mercy Corp Global Leadership Council, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank International Advisory Board and the Commission of New Climate Economy.

She is also a member of International Commission on Financing the Global Education, the Women’s World Banking, the World Economic Forum Young Global Leaders Foundation, Result for Development Institutes, the B Team.

Dr. Okonjo-Iweala was the chairman, Nigeria Mortgage Refinance Company PLC, World Bank’s Development Committee and Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation.

She was a member of International Monetary and Finance Committee of the IMF, the United Nations’ Secretary General’s High Level Panel, the Danish Government Led Commission on Africa, the Commission on World Growth and the World Economic Forum Global Leadership Council.

Dr. Okonjo-Iweala is a distinguished visiting fellow at the Centre for Global Development and the Brookings Institution.

She has served on the advisory boards of the Clinton Global Initiative and the ONE Foundation.

Recognition and Awards

  • Minister of the Year at ThisDay Awards                              2004
  • Minister of the Year at Time Europe Hero Awards              2004
  • Global Minister of the Year by EuroMoney Magazine        2005
  • African Minister of the Year by Financial Times                  2005
  • Minister of the Year at ThisDay Awards                              2005
  • 100 Global Thinkers by Foreign Polices                             2011
  • 100 Women in the World by The Guardian UK Newspaper 2011
  • Forbes’ 100 Most Powerful Women in World                      2011
  • Forbes’ 10 Most Influential Women in Africa                       2011
  • 100 Women in the World by The Guardian UK Newspaper 2011
  • 100 Global Thinkers by Foreign Policies                             2012
  • Woman of the Year by Silverbird                                    2012
  • Forbes’ 100 Most Powerful Women in the World                    2013
  • Financial Minister of the Year by Africa Investor Magazine    2014
  • Forbes’ 100 Most Powerful Women in the World                    2014
  • 100 Most Influential People in the World by TIMES Magazine 2014
  • 50 Greatest World Leaders by Fortune Magazine                   2015
  • Global Fairness Award by Global Fairness Initiatives             2016
  • Aspen Institute Madeleine Albright Award                            2017

Fight of the Titans

As can be seen from the biography, awards, achievements and success of our flag bearer, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, she is qualified, to take up that position. It is indeed going to be a fight of the titans but I am confident that she will come up victoriously.

Nigeria and Nigerians have done it in the past and the selection of our own "Ngozi" will not be different.

Dr. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala is more than qualified to do Nigeria proud, once again.

Go, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, do us proud, like you have always done.

Nigerians are with you, the Africans are with you, the whole world supports you, and God is with you.

Do you agree or disagree with my motion for Dr. Okonjo Iweala to be the next WTO President?

Let’s hear your voice in the comment section.

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Thanks for reading my first article.

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Ngozi Okonjo Iweala Nigeria Roberto Azevêdo WTO World Trade Organization

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