Benin Republic backs Okonjo-Iweala for WTO job


Benin Republic has withdrawn its candidate, Eloi Laourou, from the race to become director-general of the World Trade Organisation (WTO). They have instead pledged support for Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Nigeria’s candidate.

There has been calls from different sections to have a consensus candidate to strengthen Africa’s hopes of clinching the post. Benin Republic reached the decision after consulting with three African countries registered by the summit of heads of state, for the endorsement of a single candidate from Africa.

The Country then told the WTO officials that it has decided to withdraw Eloi Laourou, its candidate. The West African country also said it has decided to support Okonjo-Iweala as the consensus candidate in line with the African Union’s agreement.

According to THISDAYPatrice Guillaume Athanase Talon, the Beninese president, deserves credit for his country’s decision to support Nigeria.

On July 7, 2019, in Niamey, Niger Republic, and February 10, 2020, at Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, meetings were held among African nations. The heads of state made a decision to recommend a consensus candidate that will be endorsed by AU. Talon was said to have been inspired by that decision.

When Okonjo-Iweala was nominated, Egypt kicked against the nomination. They wanted Abdulhamid Mamdouh, as the only recognized candidate from Africa.

However, the WTO accepted her nomination refuting Egypt’s claim that Nigeria submitted her name late.

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