First Black woman to lead WTO says she will prioritize fair trade, access to Covid-19 vaccines

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala was confirmed as director-general of the planet Trade Organization on Monday, becoming the primary woman and therefore the first African to steer the worldwide trade body.

First Black woman to lead WTO says she will prioritize fair trade, access to Covid-19 vaccines
First Black woman to lead WTO says she will prioritize fair trade, access to Covid-19 vaccines

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala was confirmed as director-general of the planet Trade Organization on Monday, becoming the primary woman and therefore the first African to steer the worldwide trade body.Okonjo-Iweala was appointed by the WTO after the last remaining rival candidate, South Korean trade minister Yoo Myung-hee, withdrew from the race. she is going to take up her post on March 1, initially for a term that runs until August 2025.

An economist and former minister of finance of Nigeria, Okonjo-Iweala enjoyed broad support from WTO members including the ecu Union, China, Japan and Australia. The us , under the Trump administration, had favored Yoo.

'Deep reforms' : The WTO was established in 1995 with the aim of promoting open trade for the advantage of all. It negotiates and administers rules for international trade and tries to resolve disputes among its 164 members.But the organization has struggled to stop trade spats among member states, most notably the us and China. The Geneva-based body has been without a permanent director general since Roberto Azevêdo stepped down a year before planned in August.

Okonjo-Iweala has acknowledged the necessity for reform."It feels exciting and it feels daunting at an equivalent time. I anticipate to the challenge deep reforms are needed to rebrand and reposition the organization," she said during an interview with CNN's Christiane Amanpour.Okonjo-Iweala said ramping up global efforts to combat Covid-19 was also a priority.

"One of top priorities that I even have , that I'm hooked in to , is how can trade and therefore the WTO play a stronger role in bringing solutions to the Covid-19 pandemic, both on the health side but also on the economic side," she told CNN.Okonjo-Iweala said that while economic recovery was reliant on trade, solving public health challenges also required "good trade."

Okonjo-Iweala spent 25 years at the planet Bank as a development economist, rising to the position of director . She also chaired the board of Gavi, which helps to distribute coronavirus vaccines globally, stepping down at the top of her term in December.In response to concerns that rich countries aren't doing enough to share vaccines, Okonjo-Iweala said that the WTO needs "rules which will allow access and equity for vaccines, and therapeutics and diagnostics.

"That's an enormous issue on behalf of me , how can we get the solutions to this pandemic?" she said during the interview.Paul Kagame, the president of Rwanda, had expressed worries that developing countries are unable to access adequate vaccine supplies for his or her citizens."Rich and powerful nations have rushed to lock up supply of multiple vaccine candidates," Kagame said during a Guardian newspaper op-ed published on February 7.

"Worse, some are hoarding vaccines purchasing repeatedly more doses than they have . This leaves African and other developing countries either far behind within the vaccine queue, or not in it in the least ," the Rwanda president added.Okonjo-Iweala's appointment has been hailed as a big achievement by people in her native Nigeria and an #ankaraarmy  pertaining to the distinctive African print she wears — has already formed online.

Last Updated :