President Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa, Friday congratulated Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on her advancement to the third and final stage of the selection process for the position of the Director-General (DG) of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
Dr. Okonjo-Iweala is the first African woman to stand for election and reach the final stage of selection for the WTO DG post.
According to a statement published on the South African President’s social media Twitter, President Ramaphosa stated: “Dr. Okonjo-Iweala is a highly distinguished African, who has excelled in various public offices, in her native Nigeria, including responsibilities in the AU, and in numerous international assignments.
“At a time when international organisations need to be repurposed, Dr. Okonjo-Iweala is the right person to reposition the WTO in order to be an effective instrument for facilitating a fair, just, equitable and rules-based trading system.
I have no doubt that she has the credentials and capability to restore order in an otherwise turbulent multilateral trading system.”
President Ramaphosa encourages all Member States of the African Union to rally behind Dr. Okonjo-Iweala during the final round of nominations, which will see for the first time in the history of the WTO, the appointment of a female DG and one coming from the African continent.
The South African President has expressed his optimism that other regions and countries will also unite and support the African candidate, whose leadership of the WTO will assist in the full integration of the continent as an important player in the global multilateral trading system, particularly at the time when the Continent is working on operationalising the biggest free trade area in the world, the African Continental Free Trade Area (@AfCFTA).
President Ramaphosa went on to express pride in the high calibre of the candidates from the continent, including Mr. Abdel Hamid Mamdouh of Egypt and Ms. Amina Mohamed of Kenya, whom he thanked for availing themselves for the WTO DG selection process.
Meanwhile, Formerl Finance Minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has thanked Nigerians for their overwhelming support and prayers saying they have helped her maintain a leading role in the race to become head of World Trade Organization (WTO).
The former Managing Director at World Bank alongside South Korea’s Yoo Myung-hee made it through to the final selection process of WTO race.
Okonjo-Iweala stated that the support and prayers from Nigerians guided her through and also made it possible to get to this stage.
The ex-Minister took to her Twitter page to express how she felt.
She tweeted: “Happy to make it to final round of the @wto DG race. Thanks to all WTO members for pivotal role played and support to my journey so far.”