WTO DG Okonjo-Iweala Visits Nigeria, Spotlights Importance Of Fisheries Subsidies, Local Vaccine Production


The Director General of the World Trade Organisation, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, meets with the Minister of State for Industries, Trade, and Investment, ambassador Maryam Katagum in Abuja on July 19, 2022.

 

The Director-General of the World Trade Organisation, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala on Monday visited the Ministry of Industries, Trade and Investment.

During the visit, her second visit to the ministry after she became WTO DG discussed the importance of trade relationships in Nigeria and Africa with a focus on fisheries subsidies and local vaccine production in the country.

According to her, fisheries subsidy is key to Nigeria. To ensure improved output, she said a revised draft agreement for new global rules aims to curb harmful fishing subsidies and curtail post-harvest losses.

On vaccine production, the W.T.O boss is seeking more support from local manufacturers to guard against imports of vaccines and other pharmaceutical products.

READ ALSO: Buhari, Lawan Attend Unveiling Of NNPC Limited In Abuja

These issues were part of a broad discussion on how to improve trade and export while leveraging the opportunities the African continental free trade agreement offers.

Beyond improving trade ties in Nigeria and Africa, Dr Okonjo-Iweala said the WTO is also looking at soaring inflation rates.

In this regard, she says the WTO is taking measures to ensure that all restrictions on food flow to member countries are addressed.

Her visit comes barely a month after the WTO’s Council of Ministers meeting which was held in Geneva between June 12 to 17 with a major focus on improving trade, health, food security, and economic reforms which aim at building economic resilience globally.

She was received by the minister of State for Industries Trade and Investment, Maryam Katagum.

The minister promised to escalate the agreement reached at the council of ministers meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari.

The agreements reached include one for the establishment of fisheries subsidies which is expected to check unregulated fishing practices in Nigerian waters, the development of fisheries development programs and the establishment of technical services in fisheries data collection.

Okonjo-Iweala ‘Cautiously Optimistic’ As High Stakes WTO Meeting Kicks Off

Director General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), Nigerian Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala speaks at the opening ceremony of the 12th Ministerial Conference (MC12) taking place from June 12-15, in Geneva, at the headquarters of the World Trade Organization (WTO), in Geneva, Switzerland, Sunday, June 12, 2022. MARTIAL TREZZINI / POOL / AFP
Director General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), Nigerian Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala speaks at the opening ceremony of the 12th Ministerial Conference (MC12) taking place from June 12-15, in Geneva, at the headquarters of the World Trade Organization (WTO), in Geneva, Switzerland, Sunday, June 12, 2022. MARTIAL TREZZINI / POOL / AFP

 

The World Trade Organization chief voiced cautious optimism Sunday as global trade ministers gathered to tackle food security threatened by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, overfishing and equitable access to Covid vaccines.

Opening the WTO’s first ministerial meeting in nearly five years, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said to “expect a rocky, bumpy road with a few landmines along the way”.

But she told journalists she was “cautiously optimistic” that the more than 100 attending ministers would manage to agree on at least one or two of a long line of pressing issues, and that would be “a success”.

The WTO faces pressure to eke out long-sought trade deals on a range of issues and show unity amid the still raging pandemic and an impending global hunger crisis.

But since the global trade body only makes decisions by consensus, it can be more than tricky to reach agreements.

Top of the agenda at the four-day meeting is the toll Russia’s war in Ukraine, traditionally a breadbasket that feeds hundreds of millions of people, is having on food security.

Walkout

Tensions ran high during a closed-door session, where a number of delegates took the floor to condemn Russia’s war in Ukraine, including Kyiv’s envoy, who was met with a standing ovation, WTO spokesman Dan Pruzin told journalists.

Then, right before Russian Minister of Economic Development Maxim Reshetnikov spoke, around three dozen delegates “walked out”, he said.

Even before the conference began, the European Union gathered representatives from 57 countries for a show solidarity with Ukraine, with EU trade commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis slamming Russia’s “illegal and barbaric aggression”

Despite the contentious atmosphere, ministers are expected to agree on a joint declaration on strengthening food security, in which they will “commit to take concrete steps to facilitate trade and improve the functioning and longterm resilience of global markets for food and agriculture”.

According to the draft text, countries would vow that “particular consideration will be given to the specific needs and circumstances of developing country Members”.

“I hope you will collectively do the right thing,” Ngozi told the delegates.

Fisheries deal in sight?

The WTO hopes to keep criticism of Russia’s war in Ukraine to the  first day of talks, allowing ministers to focus in the following days on nailing down trade deals, after nearly a decade with no major agreements.

There is some optimism that countries could finally agree on banning subsidies that contribute to illegal and unregulated fishing, after more than two decades of negotiations.

“Will our children forgive us… if we allow our oceans to be depleted?” Okonjo-Iweala said.

One of the main sticking points has been so-called special and differential treatment (SDT) for developing countries, including major fishing nation India, which can request exemptions.

The duration of exemptions remains undefined, with environmental groups warning anything beyond 10 years would be catastrophic.

India blocking

India has demanded a 25-year exemption, and is so far refusing to budge.

Indian Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal insisted in a video address that most fishing in India is vital for survival, and that fishermen use “sustainable methods”.

“Their right to life and livelihood cannot be curtailed in any manner.”

Angered by lacking follow-through on promises made at a WTO ministerial meeting nearly a decade ago for food policy measures, India is proving intransigent on other issues as well, jeopardising the chances of locking down deals.

“There is not a single issue that India is not blocking,” a Geneva-based ambassador said, singling out WTO reform and agriculture.

Patent waiver?

India has also struck a harsh tone on another key issue on the table: WTO response to the Covid crisis.

“The rich countries need to introspect. We need to bow our heads in shame for our inability to respond to the pandemic in time,” he said.

India and South Africa began in October 2020 pushing for the WTO to temporarily lift intellectual property rights on Covid-19 medical tools like vaccines to help ensure more equitable access in poorer nations.

After multiple rounds of talks, the EU, the United States, India and South Africa hammered out a compromise.

The text, which would allow most developing countries, although not China, to produce Covid vaccines without authorisation from patent holders, still faces opposition from both sides.

The pharmaceutical industry insists the waiver would undermine investment in innovation, while public interest groups charge the text falls far short of what is needed, by limiting and complicating the vaccine waiver and not covering Covid treatments and diagnostics.

AFP

WTO Warns Against Dividing World Economy Over War In Ukraine

World Trade Organization (WTO) director-general Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala attends a press conference on WTO trade forecast at the intergovernmental trade organization in Geneva on April 12, 2022.
Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP

 

 

 

The WTO warned Tuesday that Russia’s war in Ukraine had darkened the prospects for world trade as it sounded the alarm against the global economy dividing into rival blocs over the conflict.

The World Trade Organization said the war would damage world trade growth this year and drag down global gross domestic product (GDP) growth as well.

“This is not the time to turn inward,” WTO director-general Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala told a press conference at the global trade body’s headquarters in Geneva.

“In a crisis, more trade is needed to ensure stable, equitable access to necessities. Restricting trade will threaten the well-being of families and businesses and make more fraught the task of building a durable economic recovery from Covid‑19.”

The former Nigerian foreign and finance minister said countries and international organisations must work together to facilitate trade amid sharp inflation pressures on essential supplies and growing difficulties for supply chains.

“History teaches us that dividing the world economy into rival blocs and turning our backs on the poorest countries leads neither to prosperity nor to peace,” said Okonjo-Iweala.

The WTO said world GDP, at market exchange rates, is expected to increase by 2.8 percent in 2022 — down 1.3 percentage points from the previous forecast of 4.1 percent — after rising 5.7 percent in 2021.

Growth should rise to 3.2 percent in 2023 — close to the average rate of three percent between 2010 and 2019.

The WTO now expects merchandise trade volume growth of three percent in 2022 — down from its previous forecast of 4.7 percent — and then 3.4 percent in 2023.

– ‘Immense human suffering’ –
“The war in Ukraine has created immense human suffering, but it has also damaged the global economy at a critical juncture. Its impact will be felt around the world, particularly in low-income countries, where food accounts for a large fraction of household spending,” Okonjo-Iweala said.

“Smaller supplies and higher prices for food mean that the world’s poor could be forced to do without. This must not be allowed to happen.”

The WTO said Western sanctions on Russian businesses and individuals were likely to have a strong effect on commercial services trade.

In 2019, the European Union accounted for more than 42 percent of Russia’s services imports and 31.1 percent of its services exports.

“Prior to the pandemic, travel/tourism and air transport services were the largest traded services by Russia, accounting for 46 percent of its exports and 36 percent of its imports,” said the WTO.

“These services, already hit hard by the pandemic, may be heavily affected by economic sanctions.”

The WTO said the war in Ukraine was not the only factor currently weighing on world trade.

It said lockdowns in China to prevent the spread of Covid-19 were once again disrupting seaborne trade at a time when supply chain pressures appeared to be easing.

“This could lead to renewed shortages of manufacturing inputs and higher inflation,” it said.

Okonjo-Iweala: WTO Saddened By Suffering, Trade Implication Of Russia-Ukraine War

A file photo of former Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okono-Iweala.
A file photo of former Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okono-Iweala.

 

The Director-General of the World Trade Organisation, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, on Friday said the organisation was “deeply saddened by the continued suffering and loss of life” as a result of the war in Ukraine.

She said this in a statement on Wednesday, as the war which has shocked the world and threatened global stability entered its seventh day.

The WTO had hoped that war would be averted but that hope was dashed.

With the battle raging on and talks between Ukraine and Russia yet to yield results, the WTO is concerned about the implications.

“We are also concerned about the trade implications of the conflict, especially trade in agriculture and food products and the rise in energy prices and their effects on the impacted population,” Dr Okonjo-Iweala said.

 

 

The WTO is praying for “a peaceful and quick resolution” to the crisis.

On Friday, Dr Okonjo-Iweala warned about the “economic impacts” of the war in Ukraine, a major wheat exporter, saying it would hurt consumers around the world.

“There’s going to be a big impact with respect to wheat prices and prices of bread for ordinary people as well,” she said at a virtual event with IMF chief Kristalina Georgieva.

Dr Okonjo-Iweala noted that Ukraine “is one of the largest wheat exporters of the world.”

Georgieva echoed her previous warnings about the “significant economic risk” of the conflict for the global recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic, saying “the impact is going to go beyond Ukraine.”

She highlighted the added pressure on inflation which is likely to accelerate amid rising prices for energy and wheat.

Oil prices on Thursday briefly topped $100 for the first time since 2014.
The United States and Europe slapped sanctions on Moscow, targeting the financial sector but largely sparing the oil and agriculture sectors for now in an effort to mitigate the impact on their own people.

The sanctions “add to the economic impact of this crisis, and will transmit primarily through energy prices, as well as grain prices, adding to what has been a growing concern of inflation and how it can be countered,” the IMF chief said.

The conflict adds to the “high uncertainty” about the global economy that also is reflected in financial markets, and undermines confidence in other emerging markets causing an exodus of capital at a time when those countries need more funding.

“We see outflows from emerging markets when we need exactly the opposite,” she said.

Georgieva, who is Bulgarian, said she had a personal connection to the crisis, as her brother is married to a Ukrainian and they are in a city near the border with Russia.

“I know right now it’s so difficult to see a pathway to peace, but peace must be pursued and we must find a way to bring that peace that people are so desperate for.”

‘I’m Enjoying What I Am Doing’: Okonjo-Iweala Denies Plans To Run For Presidency

File photo:  Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala during her visit to Nigeria on March 13, 2021 – her first visit since she took over the WTO leadership. Channels TV/ Sodiq Adelakun.

 

The Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), Dr Ngozi Iweala, has denied reports linking her to plans to run for Nigeria’s presidential seat in 2023. 

Okonjo-Iweala, who was Nigeria’s former finance minister, faulted the reports which also claimed she is set to resign from her WTO position as part of plans to contest for the country’s number one post. 

“I just got here. I am enjoying what I’m doing,” she told Bloomberg. “It is a very exciting job and I am trying to have some successes here.”

She described the rumours as “utterly ridiculous”, maintaining that she is focused on doing her job as the WTO chief and achieving some milestones with the organisation. 

Her comment follows recent suggestions by trade officials in Geneva that the Nigerian would be leaving her post, months after she became the first woman and African to lead the WTO. 

RELATED: WTO Working To Boost Vaccine Production In Africa – Okonjo-Iweala

Okonjo-Iweala, Biden Listed Among Time’s 100 Most Influential People

Buhari Meets WTO DG, Okonjo-Iweala On Production Of Vaccine

Scaling Up Vaccine Production

The WTO chief has been at the forefront of the push for COVID-19 vaccine equity.

She told President Muhammadu Buhari during a recent visit to Nigeria that she is persuading vaccine manufacturers to invest in Africa as the drive for COVID-19 vaccination continues globally. 

“We have to scale up and scale out COVID-19 vaccine production, particularly in emerging markets and developing countries,” she was quoted in the WTO website as saying. 

According to her, since it takes a lot to build new manufacturing facilities, boosting the production in the short term is “making the most of existing manufacturing capacity — finding existing sites and turning them around.” 

Her drive for COVID-19 vaccine equity has also earned her accolades globally. In September, American media outlet Time Magazine listed her alongside US  President, Joe Biden; Chinese President, Xi Jinping, and others, among the Most Influential People for 2021.

“As we face a constant barrage of vaccine misinformation, bureaucratic slowdowns across both government and industry, and the rise of variants that underscore the urgency of the situation, Okonjo-Iweala has shown us that to end the pandemic, we must work together to equip every nation with equitable vaccine access,” Prince Harry and Meghan wrote about her on the Time’s website.

Okonjo-Iweala, Biden Listed Among Time’s 100 Most Influential People

A file photo of the WTO DG, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.

 

The Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO), Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has been named in Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People for 2021. 

Okonjo-Iweala made the list  – released on Wednesday – alongside US President Joe Biden, Angelique Kidjo, and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry and Meghan.

The list recognises “people whose ideas, example, talent, or discoveries transform the world we live in”.

She was named in the leaders category alongside US Vice President, Kamala Harris; Chinese President, Xi Jinping, and India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi.

Others who also made Time’s list include Naomi Osaka, Britney Spears, Donald Trump, and Elon Musk.

READ ALSO: WTO Working To Boost Vaccine Production In Africa – Okonjo-Iweala

Photo: Nhu Xuan Hua for TIME

 

“As we face a constant barrage of vaccine misinformation, bureaucratic slowdowns across both government and industry, and the rise of variants that underscore the urgency of the situation, Okonjo-Iweala has shown us that to end the pandemic, we must work together to equip every nation with equitable vaccine access,” Prince Harry and Meghan wrote about Nigeria’s former Minister of Finance. 

“Our conversations with her have been as informative as they are energizing. This is partly because, despite the challenges, she knows how to get things done—even between those who don’t always agree—and does so with grace and a smile that warms the coldest of rooms.”

The couple explained that with about a quarter of the world vaccinated against COVID-19 and the globe experiencing fragility at the moment, achieving vaccine equity is a “global duty of compassion for one another.

“Our hope is that guided by strong leaders like Ngozi, we can get there soon.”

Okonjo-Iwela, who hails from Delta State, served as Nigeria’s finance minister, first under President Olusegun Obasanjo’s government – from 2003 to 2006 – and later in President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration between 2011-2015

Earlier in the year – March – she emerged as the first woman and African to lead the WTO, a landmark development that has continued to earn her accolades globally. 

 

 

WTO Working To Boost Vaccine Production In Africa – Okonjo-Iweala

A file photo of former Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okono-Iweala.
A file photo of former Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okono-Iweala.

 

The Director-General of the World Trade Organisation, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has said talks are in motion to persuade vaccine companies to invest more in Africa.

She made the comment while speaking virtually at the annual National Diaspora Day celebration in Abuja on Sunday.

According to the WTO chief, manufacture of vaccines on the continent will reduce vaccination inequality, made more stark by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Despite rising cases in Africa, many countries have struggled to secure vaccines for their population.

According to the World Health Organisation, only about 1.5% of the population on the continent is fully vaccinated. In countries like the US, the number is well over 50 percent.

Dr Okonjo-Iweala, who used to sit on the board of Gavi, the global vaccine alliance, said attempts have been made to bring the CEOS of “major manufacturing companies from Moderna to Pfizer to AstraZeneca, J&J” to the table.

Meanwhile, she also called for the implementation of Diaspora voting in future Nigerian elections.

Tariffs: Australia To Take Wine Dispute With China Before WTO

PHOTO USED TO ILLUSTRATE THE STORY: NICOLAS ARMER /DPA PICTURE-ALLIANCE VIA AFP

 

Australia will take China before the World Trade Organization over Beijing’s imposition of crippling tariffs on Australian wine exports, it announced Saturday, in the latest sign of worsening tensions between the two countries.

The decision “to defend Australia’s winemakers” comes six months after Australia lodged a separate protest at the WTO over tariffs on Australian barley and is in line with the government’s “support for the rules-based trading system”, it said in a statement.

It added, however, that “Australia remains open to engaging directly with China to resolve this issue”.

It is the latest incident in an escalating tussle between Australia and its largest trading partner and follows warnings by Prime Minister Scott Morrison that his government would respond forcefully to countries trying to use “economic coercion” against it.

READ ALSO: WHO Declares An End To Second Ebola Outbreak In Guinea

China in November slapped tariffs of up to 218 percent on Australian wines, which it said were being “dumped” into the Chinese market at subsidised prices.

The crackdown virtually closed what had been Australia’s biggest overseas wine market, with sales falling from Aus$1.1 billion (US$ 840 million) to just Aus$20 million, according to official figures.

“The actions taken by the Chinese government have caused serious harm to the Australian wine industry,” Trade Minister Dan Tehan said at a press conference announcing the decision to lodge a formal dispute with the WTO.

“We would love to be able to sit down and be able to resolve these disputes” directly with the Chinese, he said, but added that lower-level official contacts had failed to make progress.

“We will use every other mechanism to try and resolve this dispute and other disputes that we have with the Chinese government,” he said.

Tehan acknowledged that the dispute process within the WTO was difficult and estimated it would take two to four years for any resolution.

 

– ‘Coercive behaviour’ –

Beijing has imposed tough economic sanctions on a range of Australian products in recent months, ranging from high tariffs to disruptive practices across several agricultural sectors, coal, wine and tourism.

The measures are widely seen in Australia as punishment for pushing back against Beijing’s operations to impose influence in Australia, rejecting Chinese investment in sensitive areas and publicly calling for an investigation into the origins of the coronavirus pandemic.

Saturday’s move came just a week after a summit of the G7 grouping of advanced economies echoed Australia’s call for a tougher stand against China’s trade practices and its more assertive stance globally.

The G7 summit ended on June 12 with the announcement of US-led plans to counter China’s trillion-dollar “Belt and Road Initiative”, the hallmark of its efforts to extend economic influence around the world.

The grouping promised hundreds of billions of dollars in infrastructure investment for low- and middle-income countries in a “Build Back Better World” (B3W) project.

The B3W was seen as aimed squarely at competing with China’s efforts, which has been widely criticised for saddling small countries with unmanageable debt.

Morrison attended the summit as part of a G7 plus formula that also brought in the leaders of South Korea, South Africa and India, and made clear he would push the other nations for joint action against China’s aggressive trade policies.

“The most practical way to address economic coercion is the restoration of the global trading body’s binding dispute-settlement system,” he said in a speech just ahead of the summit.

“Where there are no consequences for coercive behaviour, there is little incentive for restraint,” he said.

Morrison has received explicit backing in his government’s confrontation with China from the US as well as from French President Emmanuel Macron during a visit to Paris following the G7 meeting.

AFP

WTO Okonjo-Iweala Appoints Two Women To Deputy Leadership Role

 

File Photo of World Trade Organization

 

World Trade Organization head Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala on Tuesday named two women to the WTO’s four deputy leader jobs for the first time in its history.

The new director-general — herself the first woman and the first African to lead the WTO — appointed of the United States and Costa Rica’s Anabel Gonzalez, along with Jean-Marie Paugam of France and China’s Zhang Xiangchen.

The WTO has counted one woman deputy director-general previously, but Okonjo-Iweala stressed that this was “the first time in the history of our organisation that half of the DDGs are women.”

“This underscores my commitment to strengthening our organisation with talented leaders whilst at the same time achieving gender balance in senior positions,” said the WTO chief, who took office on March 1.

“I look forward to welcoming them to the WTO.”

In making the appointments, Nigeria’s former finance and foreign minister maintained the previous balance of one deputy from China, one from the United States, one from the European Union and one from a developing country elsewhere.

The new DDGs replace Yonov Frederick Agah of Nigeria,  Karl Brauner of Germany, Alan Wolff of the United States and Yi Xiaozhun of China.

The deputies each take charge of four or five fields at the Geneva-based global trade body, such as legal affairs, market access, development, agriculture and commodities, and intellectual property.

Ellard has served at the US Congress as majority and minority chief trade counsel.

Gonzalez is a former foreign trade minister who also served as a senior director at the World Bank and as director of the agriculture and commodities division at the WTO.

Paugam was France’s permanent representative at the WTO and has held senior positions in the French economy and finance ministry.

Zhang is a vice minister in China’s Ministry of Commerce who was recently Beijing’s permanent representative to the WTO.

The organisation is holding a meeting of its general council on Wednesday and Thursday. The council is the WTO’s highest-level decision-making body in Geneva, featuring representatives from all 164 member states.

WTO DG Okonjo-Iweala Meets With President Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari receives Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala at the State House in Abuja on March 15, 2021.

 

The Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, on Monday met with President Muhammadu Buhari.

She was led to the meeting with the President by his Chief of Staff, Professor Ibrahim Gambari, in company with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, as well as the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Niyi Adebayo.

The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, was also among those who attended the meeting.

The Personal Assistant to the President on New Media, Bashir Ahmad, also announced her arrival at the Presidential Villa in a tweet.

 

Okonjo-Iweala, 66, was nominated as Nigeria’s candidate to lead the WTO by President Buhari in June 2020.

She emerged as the first woman and first African to lead the international body in February 2021, while her term began on March 1 and would last until the next four years.

The term, which is renewable, will expire on August 31, 2025.

Highpoints of the meeting are captured in the pictures below:

 

Previous Meetings

Before the meeting with President Buhari, Okonjo-Iweala had held separate discussions with the two ministers.

In her remarks, the WTO chief promised that the organisation would support Nigeria with capacity building and entrepreneurial products, especially at a time when the country has to diversify from oil.

She added that the organisation would work with other international organisations such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank to help Nigeria solve its deficits which she said were affecting its infrastructure.

Okonjo-Iweala, who arrived in Nigeria on Saturday in her first visit to the country since she assumed office as the director-general of the global body, said she felt excited about her homecoming.

She stated that the WTO was also set to support job creation among youths and encourage women entrepreneurs.

According to the former Minister of Finance, the organisation is already negotiating several agreements on e-commerce.

Mr Adebayo also shared photos of the meeting with the WTO chief on Twitter.

Okonjo-Iweala’s Visit To Nigeria As WTO Director-General In Photos

Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala visits Nigeria on March 13, 2021 – the first since she took over the WTO leadership. Channels TV/ Sodiq Adelakun.

 

The Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, on Saturday visited Nigeria for the first since she assumed office.

She was welcomed to the country by the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Nasir Sani-Gwarzo, and other government officials in Abuja.

Okonjo-Iweala told reporters that her visit to Nigeria was to show appreciation to President Muhammadu Buhari for the support accorded her.

She said she was also in the country for discussions on how Nigeria can leverage her position to benefit from trans-national trade, among others.

The highlights of her visit her captured in the pictures below:

Okonjo-Iweala Makes First Visit To Nigeria As WTO Director-General

The Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, is welcomed by some government officials shortly after arriving in Nigeria on March 13, 2021. Channels TV/ Sodiq Adelakun.

 

The Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has made her first visit to Nigeria since she assumed office.

She was received upon her arrival in the country on Saturday by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Nasir Sani-Gwarzo.

Okonjo-Iweala told reporters in Abuja, the nation’s capital that her visit to Nigeria was to show appreciation to President Muhammadu Buhari for the support accorded her.

She also hinted that discussion on how Nigeria can leverage her position to benefit from trans-national trade formed part of her visit to the country.

In this photo taken on March 13, 2021, the Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, is seen with a girl and others shortly after arriving in Nigeria. Channels TV/ Sodiq Adelakun.

 

Okonjo-Iweala’s visit to Nigeria comes about a month after she was confirmed as the Director-General of the global trade organisation.

As the first woman and first African to lead the international body, her term began on March 1 and would last until the next four years.

The term, which is renewable, will expire on August 31, 2025.

In the journey to become the director-general of the WTO, Okonjo-Iweala had the backing of the majority of the member-countries of the organisation.

She, however, vied for the job with the Republic of Korea’s Trade Minister, Yoo Myung-hee, who enjoyed the support of former United States President Donald Trump to become the WTO DG.

The Korean minister later announced on February 5 that she was abandoning her bid to lead the international trade body, leading to Okonjo-Iweala’s emergence as the sole candidate for the job.

Following the withdrawal, the U.S. government through its Trade Representative expressed its “strong support” for the candidacy of Okonjo-Iweala as the Director-General of the WTO.

Okonjo-Iweala, 66, was nominated as Nigeria’s candidate to lead the WTO by President Muhammadu Buhari in June 2020.

She is a Nigerian-American economist and international development expert who has a 25-year career at the World Bank, scaling the ranks to the second top position of Managing Director, Operations.

The Delta State-born economist served two terms as the minister of finance under former Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo and Goodluck Jonathan respectively.

See more photos of Okonjo-Iweala’s visit to Nigeria below: