Morocco expresses its delight at the historic appointment of Nigeria’s Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala as the first woman and African to head the WTO.
Rabat – Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, a 66-year-old woman from Nigeria, made history this week by becoming the first woman and the first African in history to lead the World Trade Organization (WTO).
The much-revered Nigerian economist was appointed on Monday as the director-general of the World Trade Organization by representatives of the 164 member countries. US President Joe Biden expressed his ‘strong support’ for Okonjo-Iweala as she prepares to head the World Trade Organization, arguing that she “brings a wealth of knowledge in economics and international diplomacy.”
Her bid to lead the World Trade Organization had previously been blocked by former US President Donald Trump.
Formerly, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala was the first woman to serve as both the Nigerian finance minister in 2003 and foreign affairs minister in 2006. She was also the first woman to run for the presidency of the World Bank, where she spent nearly a quarter of a century.
Born in 1954, in a small village in southern Nigeria, she witnessed the independence of her country at the age of six. After growing up in Nigeria during the Biafran war, Okonjo-Iweala studied development economics at Harvard and earned a Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
“The war was a poignant time. It taught me to live frugally, and that’s what made me someone who doesn’t need much to get ahead,” Ngozi told Forbes magazine.
She pointed out that one of her major priorities as the director-general of the WTO is to find ways to rapidly address the health and economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and to work hard to get the global economy back on its feet.
“A strong WTO is vital if we are to recover fully and rapidly from the devastation wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Okonjo-Iweala said in a statement.
Morocco has expressed its delight at the historic appointment of Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala as head of WTO.
Omar Zniber, Morocco’s ambassador in Geneva, Switzerland, said that Morocco is pleased that the World Trade Organization (WTO) is headed, for the first time ever, by an African woman. Zniber said Okonjo-Iweala brings to the table a much-needed developing country perspective as the global system faces a host of unprecedented challenges.