The United States under Joe Biden has endorsed Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala as Director General of the World Trade Organisation, WTO.
The endorsment made public by the US Trade Representative on Friday is the final hurdle in the Nigerian’s bid to be DG of the global trade body, following the withdrawal of the only other contestant for the position, South Korea’s Trade Minister, Yoo Myung-hee.
“The United States takes note of today’s decision by the Republic of Korea’s Trade Minister Yoo Myung-hee to withdraw her candidacy for Director General of the World Trade Organization (WTO).
“The Biden-Harris Administration is pleased to express its strong support for the candidacy of Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala as the next Director General of the WTO,” the statement said.
“Dr Okonjo-Iweala brings a wealth of knowledge in economics and international diplomacy from her 25 years with the World Bank and two terms as Nigerian Finance Minister.
“She is widely respected for her effective leadership and has proven experience managing a large international organization with a diverse membership,” the US statement said.
Okonjo-Iweala who sits on the board of Twitter and GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance, had earlier secured the support of 163 out of 164 member countries, but couldn’t be declared Director General, following the opposition of the Donald Trump-led US government.
However. the Biden-Harris administration’s support for Okonjo-Iweala, clears the path for her to emerge the first African and first female DG of the WTO.
“Grateful for the expression of support from the US today for DG @WTO. Congratulations to Madam Yoo of Rep. Korea for a hard fought campaign,” Okonjo-Iweala said on Twitter.
“Thank You President Muhammadu Buhari and all Nigerians for your unflinching support.Thank you friends. Love to my family.Glory to God.”