cap fits, let them wear it”.
With her clout and pedigree, it is no gainsaying the gigantic cap of the
DG of the World Trade Organization (WTO) fits none other than Nigeria’s
Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. This became evident in reading her final
presentation to the WTO’s Governing Council during the first phase of
the screening exercise where she elucidated her plans to move WTO to
Nothing beats putting a round peg in a round hole. Okonjo-Iweala proved
her mettle in identifying some of the challenges that presently bedevil
the WTO. Knowing the role the apex organisation plays in global trade
through designing mechanisms to foster transparency, predictability, and
stability in the multilateral trading system (MTS) as well as monitoring
trade developments, promoting exchanges and building trust, she
expressed her concern about how paralyzed WTO appears at a time “when
its rule book would greatly benefit from an update to 21st-century
She also expressed her intention to resolve agelong issues such as
transparency, the inclusion of medium enterprises (MSMEs), standardising
best practices, and resolving the trade tensions among member countries.
As a strong believer in the role of trade, Okonjo-Iweala knows that
renewing and improving the WTO will require recalling the core
objectives and principles on which the MTS was built such as the value
of open trade, competition and non-discrimination. She also expresses
her commitment to building trust among the members leveraging on her
past experiences in dealing with high political stakes.
Her 25-year career at the highest echelons of the World Bank has no
doubt prepared her for a time like this. Little wonder her vision for
the WTO is that of an organization where “members coalesce around the
capacity of trade to help foster economic growth and sustainable
development”. With her, we can be guaranteed of a WTO devoid of
mistrust, where members can work in concert for collective progress.
Okonjo-Iweala is poised to head a rejuvenated WTO with confidence to
tackle lingering issues. As the head of the World Trade Organisation,
she has promised a refreshed organisation that will find solutions to
whatever disputes may occur among members without delay.
While acknowledging the impact and damage COVID-19 has inflicted on the
global economy, she maintained that as Director-General of the trade
organisation, she would use her office to work with relevant
organizations to marshal responses to contain the impact of coronavirus.
With Dr Okonjo-Iweala we can be sure that her more than 30 years of
expertise in developmental economic in multi-national organisations will
prove pivotal to moving the WTO to its next level. She has shown she is
a firm believer in the power of trade to lift developing countries out
of poverty to robust economic growth and sustainable development. It is
no surprise then that many African leaders are routing for her candidacy
for this coveted position of WTO Director-General.
Having an Okonjo-Iweala piloting the affairs of the World Trade
Organization at this precarious time would also be a real boon for the
continent. As such, it behooves other African leaders who are yet to
identify with her nomination to do so now.
Without mincing words, the cap of the Director-General of the World
Trade Organisation fits her, and, with all she has to offer judging by
her presentation before the WTO governing council, it is one she will
certainly wear well.
Dave Agboola believes in the power of the pen to address issues from
whatever angle. He is into freelance writing and editing alongside his