For the first time, a woman has taken over the helm of the World Trade Organization (WTO), which oversees world trade and develops trade laws.
According to reports, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, 66, from the African country of Nigeria, took over as director-general (DG) of the World Trade Organization on March 1.
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala was elected DG in mid-February last year after four months of meetings at the General Council of World Trade.
However, in a statement issued by the World Trade Organization in October 2020, it was confirmed that only one woman would be elected to the post of Director General this time, as only two women were shortlisted for the top positions at the October meetings.
In October 2020, Yoo Myung-hee, South Korea’s commerce minister, was shortlisted for the final selection of the director-general, along with Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, but the South Korean woman later apologized for not running.
Although an apology from the South Korean woman paved the way for Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala to become DG, it still took a few months for the General Council to approve it, and in February all members agreed. Former Nigerian finance minister and former foreign minister have agreed to become DGs of the World Trade Organization.
Following his election as DG in February, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala assumed office on March 1 and chaired the first high-level meeting of the World Trade Organization in Geneva, which discussed global trade in the context of Coronavirus.
Expressing happiness at being the head of the World Trade Organization, Najozi Akonjo Ovila called her election a victory for women around the world.
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is already working with the World Trade Organization and has been associated with other international organizations. She also ran in the 2012 WTO presidential election.
She has also been Nigeria’s Minister of Finance and Foreign Affairs, working on projects such as financing women and low-income people in poor countries while working at the World Bank and the World Trade Organization.
It may be recalled that the World Trade Organization (WTO) was established in 1995. The WTO has more than 164 member countries including Pakistan and it deals with the formulation of rules and regulations related to trade and commerce among the member countries.