Okonjo-Iweala Best Candidate For WTO Job– US Policy Advisor

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Former United States Policy Adviser and the Senior Vice President of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Daniel Runde, has tipped Nigeria’s former finance minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, to be the best candidate for the position of the Director General of the World Trade Organisation.

Okonjo Iweala who is the current Chair Board of Gavi the Vaccine Alliance, is up against seven other candidates for the WTO job.

Other candidates vying for the job are Jesus Kuri from Mexico,  Amina Mohamed, a Kenyan; Tudor Ulianovschi, a Moldovan; Abdel-Hamid Mamdouh, an Egyptian; Yoo Myung-hee, South Korean; Liam Fox from the UK; Mohammad Maziad Al-Tuwaijri from Saudi Arabia.

He said, “For a variety of reasons, the best candidate for the U.S. to support would be Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.”  

He made this known in an opinion published on Thursday, titled, ‘US should support Ngozi for WTO Director General.’

According to Runde the six others vying for the WTO job were qualified, adding that they were unlikely to be nominated.

Ronde believes that Mexico’s Kuri has a slim chance of nomination, while the EU was unlikely to accept any candidate from the UK like Liam Fox.

He said South Korean, Saudi and Moldova’s candidates were unlikely to be nominated.

Based on the factors, he said, “it is a sense that it is Africa’s turn.”

According to him, the WTO needed a candidate with political power who can have hard, honest conversations with global leaders. 

Ronde stated, “Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala meets these criteria. She has considerable stature in the multilateral world, having been the Managing Director of Operations at the World Bank and a current member of the External Advisory Board of the IMF.

“Second, she has a history of reform, having led the charge against corruption during her second term as Nigeria’s Minister of Finance and having successfully implemented the GIFMIS (Government Integrated Financial Management Information System).

“Finally, she has proven her ability in making tough deals, including spearheading negotiations with the Paris Club of Creditors that led to the wiping out of $30bn of Nigeria’s debt.”

He added that with Okonjo-Iweala, the U.S. was being presented with the opportunity to support a reformer candidate with a proven track record.

“She is a changemaker who has spent over two decades in the United States; she understands our system and our needs, and she represents our best opportunity to enact the changes the United States wants to see at the WTO,” he added.

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