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Okonjo-Iweala set to be the World Trade Center DG as South Korea withdraws candidate

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Nigeria’s ex-finance Minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is set to become the first female and first African Director-General of the World Trade Center after South Korea withdrew its candidate. 

This comes as South Korean Trade Minister, Yoo Myung-hee, who was her only opponent, withdrew her bid for the post.

Okonjo-Iweala is set to become the first woman and the first African to lead the organization in its 25-year history.

According to a statement released by the Korean Ministry of Trade today Friday, February 5, Yoo decided after discussions with the U.S. and other major nations, and took various issues into account including the need to revitalize the multilateral organization.

“There was no consensus,” Yoo said.

“So we needed enough time for in-depth consultations with important members, including the U.S.”

The US had supported Yoo Myung-hee, to become the Director-General of the World Trade Organisation, ahead of Okonjo-Iweala.

US Trade Representative, Robert Lighthizer, while giving reasons for opposing Okonjo-Iweala, who gained American citizenship in 2019, said WTO needs “someone with real, hands-on experience in the field”.

The opposition halted the selection process because WTO decisions are made on the basis of a consensus of its members. 

Okonjo-Iweala who is also a U.S. citizen, emerged as the front-runner for the WTO director-general post last year, meaning that she is now the sole candidate left in the race.

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