The ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government has endorsed the candidacy of Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala for the position of Director-General of the World Trade Organisation.
The apex body noted that since the creation of the WTO on January 1, 1995, as a successor to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade established on January 1, 1948, no African has assumed the top position of the organisation.
This is coming against the opposition to Okonjo-Iweala’s nomination by the African Union and Egypt.
The ECOWAS endorsed the candidate of Nigeria noting “her long years of managerial experience at the top echelons of multilateral institutions, her established reputation as a fearless reformer, her excellent negotiating and political skills, her experience of over 30 years as a development economist with a long-standing interest in trade, her excellent academic qualifications, her positions as Managing Director, World Bank, and currently as Board Chair Gavi, and AU Special Envoy to Mobilize Financial Resources for the fight against COVID-19.”
According to a statement on Monday by the spokesman, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ferdinand Nwonye, the body also called on other African countries as well as non-African countries, to endorse her candidature.
In opposing Okonjo-Iweala’s candidacy, the AU declared that her nomination was not in line with the rules.
Nigeria had submitted a Note Verbal on June 4 to the commission, informing it that the candidature of Yunov Agah had been withdrawn and replaced with Okonjo-Iweala, a former Coordinating Minister of the Economy in Nigeria.
Based on the new candidature, Egypt requested the Office of the Legal Counsel to provide a written opinion on whether Nigeria’s action was in line with the rules.
In its reply dated June 15, the Office of the Legal Counsel disclosed that the new submission of Nigeria “does not fulfil the requirement in accordance with Rule (11), paragraphs 1,2 and 3 and Rule 12.”