President Muhammadu Buhari has formally presented former finance minister, Ngozi Okonjo Iweala for consideration for the position of director general of the world trade organization, WTO.
The president in a note dated June 4 sent from the Nigerian mission in Addis Ababa, said, “Nigeria is therefore pleased to request the support of esteemed AU member states as well as permanent missions and embassies in Addis Ababa, in favour of the candidacy of Dr Okonjo Iweala.”
The government said Okonjo Iweala, a renowned economist and global finance expert with over 30-years experience, has worked in Asia, Africa, Europe, Latin America. She is presently chair of Gavi, the global vaccine alliance that has immunized over 750 million children across the globe.
Okonjo Iweala has served twice as Nigeria’s finance minister and was briefly foreign minister in 2006. For 25 years, she held senior positions at the world bank and rising to the number two position.
The government note credited Okojo Iweala as having led Nigeria through varying degree of reforms, particularly on macroeconomic, trade, finance and real sector issues.
This nomination is coming at a time when trade with the east is at crossroads. Pascal Lamy was Director- General of the WTO when China mounted an accension in early 2001 to the organisation, pledging several market reforms. It entry was greeted by trepid reception but not until 2004 did China began to full recognize the full extent of it membership. Dr Iweala has a fair chance, given her global recognition and visibility.