Forum canvasses support for Okonjo-Iweala over nomination as WTO’s D-G



The Pan African Business Forum (PABF) has declared its support for Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, former Nigerian Finance Minister as Director-General for the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

Dr Ladislas Agbesi, the Beninoise and Ghanaian President of PABF, made this known in a telephone interview with News Agency of Nigeria on Thursday.

He commended Okonjo-Iweala’s nomination among seven other candidates by respective governments for the position of WTO Director-General as Mr Robert Azevedo, the current Chief Executive announced the decision to step down on Aug. 31.

Agbesi said, “PABF declares support for candidature of Okonjo-Iweala, who was also former Managing Director of the World Bank in charge of Africa, South and Central Asia as well as parts of Europe.

PABF’s support will prove useful to her cause, even as she faces a very competitive contest for the top job in the multilateral organisation that regulates global international trade.

“Nevertheless, the forum is fully convinced that she is the best option for a job that itself will be an extremely tough one.

“This is amid global supply chain disruptions instigated by COVID-19 pandemic and trade tensions between the United States, China, Western Europe, BREXIT, which are encouraging retreat from multilateralism in trade, by several countries’’.

He described Okonjo-Iweala as front runner in the contest, because of her accomplishments at the World Bank and in Nigeria, to have earned her deep respect globally.

He said that Okonjo-Iweala had been a leading candidate for the job of managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

He added that she, therefore, had an advantage over any citizen from a developing country.

“This is a unique opportunity now unfolding, to win the trust and confidence of all its members around the world.

“The big, rich economies that are currently embroiled in trade disputes with each other need someone, who they see as a neutral arbitrator.

“The smaller, relatively poor economies need someone, who they can trust, not to simply support the interests of the rich ones at their expense, which has been their thinking up till now,’’ Agbesi added.

Furthermore, he said that her educational background, work experience and track record of accomplishment attest to her suitability for the job.

Other candidates contesting with Okonjo-Iweala are Dr Jesus Seade Kuri (Mexico), Me Abdel-Hamid Mamduoh (Egypt), Mr Tudor Ulianovschi (Moldova) and Ms Yoo Myung-hee (Republic of Korea).

Also in the race are Ms Amina Mohamed (Kenya), Mr Mohammad Maziad Al-Tuwaijri (Kingdom of South Arabia) and Dr Liam Fox (United Kingdom).

NAN reports that WTO deals with the global rules of trade between nations and also ensure that trade flows smoothly, predictably and as freely as possible.

Edited By: Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)

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