Nigeria has officially nominated Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala for the position of Director-General at the World Trade Organization (WTO) (CGTN). The current Director-General, Brazil’s Roberto Azevêdo, will step down in August (Reuters). So far, the West African regional group, ECOWAS, has endorsed Okonjo-Iweala, but Nigeria is having difficulty garnering the support of other African nations (Reuters). The Egyptian government has nominated Abdel-Hamid Mamdouh and has challenged Okonjo-Iweala’s nomination, as she was not Nigeria’s original candidate (CGTN).
The nomination period ends on July 8th (WTO). After the WTO finalizes nominations, the organization will invite candidates to a special General Council meeting to present their vision and field questions from WTO members (WTO). The new Director-General will face many challenges, including navigating the economic repercussions of the COVID-19 outbreak, mitigating growing trade tensions and dealing with rising protectionism (Reuters). Okonjo-Iweala was formerly a minister and World Bank director, and, if selected, will be the first African and the first woman to serve the Director-General role at the WTO (Reuters).