GENEVA, 15 February 2021 – The World Trade Organization (WTO) on Monday formally appointed Nigerian-born Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala as director-general.

She is the first African and first female to hold the position, but also the first American to hold the position given that she also carries an American passport.

Okonjo-Iweala, 66, is a former Nigerian finance minister and a former managing director of the World Bank.

Okonjo-Iweala came close but failed to complete her clinch of the position last year when it became clear that former US President Donald Trump was opposed to her getting the world’s top job in trade.

Cartoon BusinessLIVE

Cartoon BusinessLIVE

Okonjo-Iweala - Photo Vanguard News

Okonjo-Iweala – Photo Vanguard News


The administration of US President Joe Biden gave its full support, opening the way for Okonjo-Iweala to get the job.

When she ran for and came short of becoming World Bank President, many observers said she more likely than not failed to clinch the position because, at the time, she did not have U.S. citizenship.

One of her main priorities will be to “comprehensively” reform and revitalize the organization.

She campaigned as someone with powers to shake things up and one ready to help build bridges.

Watch this Bloomberg interview with a reporter covering the WTO.

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