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Nigeria’s Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala Appointed as 7th DG of WTO; Becomes the First Woman and First African to Head WTO

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Nigeria's Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala appointed WTO Director-GeneralOn 15th February 2021, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala from Nigeria was appointed as the 7th Director General of the World Trade Organisation(WTO), multilateral trade body. She will hold the position from 1st March 2021 to 31st August 2025. She succeeds former Director-General Roberto Azevêdo who announced his retirement 1 year before the expiry of his tenure.

  • With this appointment, Ngozi Okonjo- Iweala became the first woman and the first African to head the WTO.

About Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala:

i.Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has twice served as the Finance Minister of Nigeria between 2011 and 2015 and she has also served as the Foreign Minister of Nigeria in 2006, the first woman to hold both the positions.

ii.She served as the Managing Director of the World Bank overseeing an 82 billion USD portfolio in Africa, South Asia, Europe and Central Asia.

iii.She is the Co-Chair of the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate and she is also a member of the Boards of Standard Chartered PLC and Twitter Inc

iv.She has served as the Chair of the Board of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance from 2016 to 2020 and African Risk Capacity(ARC) from 2014 to 2020.

v.She was also appointed to the Special Envoys of the African Union (AU) on COVID-19 and World Health Organisation WHO COVID-19 Special Envoy (ACT-Accelerator).


She has authored numerous articles on Finance and development.

She has also authored various books which includes,

  • ‘Women and Leadership – Real Lives, Real Lessons’ (2020) co-authored with Julia Gillard
  • Fighting Corruption is Dangerous: The Story Behind the Headlines
  • Reforming the Unreformable: Lessons from Nigeria
  • ‘The Debt Trap in Nigeria’ co-edited with Charles Soludo and Mansour Muhtar

Awards and Honours:

i.She has received the International Service Award 2020 of the World Affairs Councils of America and the Aminu Kano Award for Leadership (2020).

ii.She was named Forbes African of the year 2020.

Recent Related News:

On May 21, 2020, The World Bank named former Bear Stearns executive Carmen Reinhart as its new Vice President (VP) and chief economist, tapping an expert on financial crisis who also serves on the advisory board of the New York Federal Reserve. Reinhart’s appointment is effective on June 15, 2020.

About World Trade Organisation:
WTO deals with the global rules of trade between the countries.

Objective:To ensure that trade flow as smooth, predictable and free as possible.
Location– Geneva, Switzerland
Established– 1 January 1995
Created by– Uruguay Round negotiations (1986-94)
Member– 164 members