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Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Okonjo-Iweala Set for WTO Top Job as Rival Drops Bid

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Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the 66-year-old former Finance minister of Nigeria, is set to become the director-general of the World Trade Organization (WTO), as her sole opponent, US-favoured South Korean, Yoo Myung-hee, is reported to have withdrawn from the race.

Yoo, a trade minister,  on Friday abandoned her bid to become head of the WTO, Seoul said, clearing the way for Dr Okonjo-Iweala to become the global body’s first woman and first African director-general.

Yoo had consulted with the United States — her prime backer — and other major countries and “decided to renounce her candidacy”, South Korea’s trade ministry said in a statement.

The process to name a successor to Roberto Azevedo had been deadlocked since October, when key WTO ambassadors tapped Okonjo-Iweala as the best pick to lead the organisation.

On October 28, WTO General Council chair, David Walker, announced that, after due consultations, Dr Okonjo-Iweala was “the candidate best poised to attain consensus and become the 7th director-general”.

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