Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has been endorsed by Africa’s richest man, Alhaji Aliko Dangote for the office of the Director General of the World Trade Organization (WTO).
This was disclosed in a tweet by the foremost billionaire industrialist, He said; “In these challenging times @WTO needs the renowned skills and tested experience of Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala @NOIweala to lead the organization through identified obstacles and strengthen its position as the prime facilitator of international trade.”
“A vote for her by all is a step in the right direction. I fully endorse the candidature of @NOIweala to lead @WTO.”
The 2-times former Nigeria Minister of Finance responded with a sense of gratitude saying; “Thank you Aliko my brother for these wonderful words. As a globally acclaimed Businessman, your knowledge about WTO and your confidence in my ability to serve is much appreciated.”
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.
The World Trade Organization (WTO) was created by the Uruguay Round negotiations (1986-94) but established in 1 January 1995. And its current location is at Geneva, Switzerland. It has 164 members representing 98 per cent of world trade. Roberto Azevêdo is the outgoing Director-General.
Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala a global finance expert is an economist and international development professional with over 30 years of experience working in Asia, Africa, Europe and Latin America. Currently, Dr Okonjo-Iweala is Chair of the Board of Gavi, the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation. Since its creation in 2000, Gavi has immunized 680 million children globally and saved ten million lives. She is also a Senior Adviser at Lazard and sits on the Boards of Standard Chartered PLC and Twitter Inc.
Previously, Dr. Okonjo-Iweala served twice as Nigeria’s Finance Minister, from 2003-2006, 2011-2015, and briefly Foreign Minister in 2006, the first woman to hold both positions. She spent a 25-year career at the World Bank as a development economist, rising to the No. 2 position of Managing Director, Operations.
She is renowned as the first female and black candidate to contest for the presidency of the World Bank Group in 2012, backed by Africa and major developing countries in the first truly contestable race for the world’s highest development finance post. As Managing Director of the World Bank, she had oversight responsibility for the World Bank’s $81 billion operational portfolio in Africa, South Asia, Europe and Central Asia. Dr Okonjo-Iweala spearheaded several World Bank initiatives to assist low-income countries during the 2008-2009 food crisis and later during the financial crisis. In 2010, she was Chair of the World Bank’s successful drive to raise $49.3 billion in grants and low interest credit for the poorest countries in the world.
As Minister of Finance in Nigeria, she spearheaded negotiations with the Paris Club of Creditors that led to the wiping out of $30 billion of Nigeria’s debt, including the outright cancellation of $18 billion. In her second term as Finance Minister, Dr Okonjo-Iweala was responsible for leading reform that enhanced transparency of government accounts and strengthened institutions against corruption, including the implementation of the GIFMS (Government Integrated Financial Management System), the IPPMS (Integrated Personnel and Payroll Management System), and the TSA (Treasury Single Accounts).
Previously, she served as the co-Chair of the Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation with UK Secretary Justine Greening, and Chair of the World Bank’s Development Committee (2004). She was also a member of the International Monetary and Finance Committee of the IMF (2003-2006 and 2011-2015), the United Nations’ Secretary General’s High-Level Panel on the Post-2015 Development Agenda, the Danish-Government-led Commission on Africa, the World Economic Forum Global Leadership Council on Transparency and Corruption, and the Commission on World Growth (led by Nobel Prize winner Professor Michael Spence). She served for a decade on the Rockefeller Foundation Board, the One Campaign, and the World Economic Forum Young Global Leaders. Dr Okonjo-Iweala has also served on the advisory board of the Clinton Global Initiative, the ONE Foundation, the Global Development Network, and the University of Oxford’s Blavatnik School of Government.
Dr Okonjo-Iweala is the founder of Nigeria’s first ever indigenous opinion-research organization, NOI-Polls. She also founded the Center for the Study of Economies of Africa (C-SEA), a development research think tank based in Abuja, Nigeria. Dr Okonjo-Iweala is a Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Center for Global Development, and also at the Brookings Institution, premier Washington D.C. think tanks.
Dr Okonjo-Iweala graduated magna cum laude with an A.B. in Economics from Harvard University (1976), and earned a Ph.D. in Regional Economics and Development from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT, 1981). She has received honorary degrees from 15 universities worldwide, including some from the most prestigious colleges: Yale University, the University of Pennsylvania, Brown University, Trinity College (University of Dublin), Amherst College, Colby College, Tel Aviv University, and Northern Caribbean University, Jamaica. She also has honorary doctorate degrees from a host of Nigerian universities including Abia State University, Delta State University, Oduduwa University, Babcock University, and the Universities of Port Harcourt, Calabar, and Ife (Obafemi Awolowo).