Amb. Mariam Katagum, the Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment says Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is the best candidate based on merit to head the World Trade Organisation as Director-General.
Katagum made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday in Abuja.
According to her, former Nigeria’s minister of finance should be elected to head WTO considering her antecedence, competence and experience.
Katagum, the Chairperson of the Okonjo-Iweala Campaign Team said that the WTO was facing a lot of problems currently, adding that a person of Okonjo-Iweala standing was required to steer the ship of the organisation.
“We are looking forward for her to be the next D-G of the WTO because she is the best choice for the job.
“The WTO is an organisation that sets up rules for trade, and has trade facilitation and dispute resolution mechanism.
“Being the head of that organisation, you need a lot of experience and negotiation skills, political and economic background to make it work.
“Only a D-G with the requisite political and negotiating skills coupled with multilateral experience can ensure deep engagement of the members to restore trust and build a truly efficient organisation.
“In the history of the WTO, there has never been an African male or female that has headed that organisation.
“Secondly, there has never been a woman head; so again, she will be the first African, the first woman and the first Nigerian to hold the position of the director-general of WTO.”
Nigeria’s former envoy, permanent delegate to UNESCO further said that with the effect of COVID-19 pandemic on the global economy, someone with vast economic experience was needed to head the WTO.
She commended the series of endorsements of Okonjo- Iweala’s candidacy from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), African Union to the European Union (EU).
NAN reports that the WTO members have selected Nigeria’s Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and South Korea’s Yoo Myung-hee as two final candidates to advance to the final round in the race to lead the Geneva-based trade body.
The third and final phase of the consultation process will begin later this month and run until Nov. 6, after which the WTO will name a consensus winner of the race.
At the end of the selection, if the WTO members are unable to select a leader by consensus, a vote requiring a qualified majority could be held as a last resort. (NAN)