Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, an appointment for History

The least we can say is that Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is not doing things by halves. The Nigerian politician is about to be appointed director-general of the World Trade Organization (WTO for the intimates) and will then lead an institution that was looking for a chief in a difficult period highlighted by the coronavirus disease and the commercial war between the United States and China. This is the first time ever that a woman has been appointed director of the WTO, and this is also the first time that an African personality has run this organization. This is doubtlessly an appointment that will make history in two ways.

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is far from being a neophyte at international level. She graduated from Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), two prestigious American schools, before beginning her career at the World Bank in the beginning of the eighties. After twenty years working for the World Bank in Washington, she will return to Nigeria in 2003 to be the Minister of Finance of President Olusegun Obasanjo. Struggling against bribery and finding ways to reduce public debt, the Nigerian politician will fight hard for her country, the most populated state of the continent, and the first economy in Africa as well.

After weeks of freezing in the process of finding a new ruler for the WTO, since the Trump administration was considering Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala did not have enough experience in trade issues, Joe Biden finally figured it out and brought his support to the Nigerian politician. In the meantime, South Korean Yoo Myung-hee withdrew from the race, making it simpler for Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala to get the role. A role that will be tough to assume: in those times of sanitary and economic crisis, many countries resort to protectionist measures to preserve their interests. Without mentioning the fact that the two biggest economies in the world, the United States and China, do not get on well.

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