Nigeria’s Okonjo Iweala resumes as WTO Boss
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the first female and first African director-general of the World Trade Organisation, started work on Monday, filling a six-month leadership vacuum at the global trade watchdog.
The 66-year-old Nigerian was finally confirmed as boss last month after a long campaign that was derailed in the final stages by a Trump administration veto. He promised to “forget business as usual” at the body that is struggling to strike new deals and whose arbitration functions are paralyzed.
“It feels great. I am coming into one of the most important institutions in the world and we have a lot of work to do. I feel ready to go,” Okonjo-Iweala told a reporter on arrival at the WTO’s lakeside Geneva headquarters.
The former finance and foreign minister’s first day as WTO president falls on the same day as a meeting of the WTO’s highest decision-making body, the General Council. Its 164 member states will address issues such as trade rules for the delivery of the COVID-19 vaccine, which Okonjo-Iweala has defined as a priority.