Image Reuters Dr Ngozi Okonjo Iweala takes the helm of the multilateral institution in need of widespread reform
16 February, 2021, 05:14
US President Joe Biden previously endorsed her nomination, pointing to greater cooperation in global policy.
There is also a fragile issue of determining whether the US broke WTO rules when the Trump administration, citing national security concerns, unilaterally boosted tariffs on steel and aluminum in 2018, Politico reports.
This, according to him, was evidenced in her successes as the Nigeria's Minister of Finance, Managing Director of the World Bank and various other global development bodies. The pandemic and its economic fallout have highlighted the interdependence of countries, the importance of multilateralism and the need to strengthen collaboration to achieve fair and balanced trade agreements that provide opportunities for all WTO members, particularly for the least developed countries and small island states. -China trade conflict and pressure to reform trade rules.
Gbajabiamila said her confirmation had once again proved that Nigeria has experts that could compete favourably, both at home and overseas.
At that meeting, the United States was the only WTO member which said it could not join the consensus.
Gbajabiamila said Okonjo-Iweala's unanimous confirmation by the General Council of the WTO to head the body was "a testament to her years of experience in the financial sector, both at home and abroad".
The WTO has been partially paralyzed, with its appellate court not functioning due to a lack of judges.
Two top challenges she will face include examining the trade war between the United States and China, the world's two largest economies, and US sanctions against the European Union and visa versa.
Okonjo-Iweala, who goes by "Dr Ngozi", becomes one of the few female heads of a major multilateral body. She rose to the No. 2 position of managing director, where she oversaw $81 billion in development financing in Africa, South Asia, Europe and Central Asia. In 2012 she made an unsuccessful bid for the top post with the backing of African and other developing countries, challenging the traditional practice that the World Bank is always headed by an American. The Geneva-based body has been without a permanent director general since Roberto Azevêdo stepped down a year earlier than planned in August.
She studied development economics at Harvard after experiencing a civil war in Nigeria as a teenager.
Okonjo-Iweala said studies showed that the global economy would lose $9 trillion in potential output if poor countries were unable to get their populations vaccinated quickly, and about half of the impact would be borne by rich countries. Okonjo-Iweala has also recently appointed a special envoy of African's Union to supervise and mobilise the continent's effort to meet economic challenges linked to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. "The rest are hard". Ruling against Trump's move could provide a rallying cry for WTO skeptics in the US, while a ruling in favour could lead to other countries using national security justification as well. And that "opens a giant loophole in the trading system whereby all rules are meaningless", Bown said. Biden's administration therefore has an incentive to take the dispute off the table before a decision, expected this summer.