‘The Headline Was Inappropriate,’ Swiss Newspaper Apologises Over Racist Remark On Okonjo-Iweala

Channels Television  
Updated March 1, 2021
A file photo of WTO DG Ngozi Okono-Iweala.


The Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO), Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala on Monday received an apology from a Swiss newspaper over a headline which dismissed her experience as an economist and Nigerian politician.

The Swiss newspaper in the headline of an article published on February 9 said ‘This grandmother will be the new chief of the World Trade Organisation.’

This sparked an outcry from many who described the headline as ‘racist and sexist.’

The newspaper later apologised in a communique describing the headline as inappropriate.

“In our editorial office, we gave the article about the new head of the World Trade Organisation the headline >>This grandmother will be the new chief of the World Trade Organisation.

“This headline was inappropriate and unsuitable. The title sparked angry reactions from readers. We apologise for this editorial mistake,” Samuel Schumacher, Foreign Editor-In-Chief az Nordweatschweiz/Schweiz am Wochenende said.

Iweala, the first female and first African to lead the WTO in her Tweet on Monday accepted the apology and said it is important and timely they apologised.

“I’m thankful to all my sisters, UN Women Leaders and the 124 Ambassadors in Geneva who signed the petition on calling out the racist & sexist remarks in this newspaper. It is important & timely that they’ve apologized.

“It is important & timely that they’ve apologised,” Okonjo-Iweala said in a tweet.


The development economist took over as the new WTO chief on Monday after a long, high-powered career serving as minister of finance and foreign affairs in  Nigeria and 25 years at the World Bank.