By Adedapo Adesanya
Nigerian billionaire and business mogul, Mr Aliko Dangote, has backed former Finance Minister, Mrs Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, to become the next Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
Mr Dangote in a series of tweet showed his support for Mrs Okonjo-Iweala, 66, who is one of the eight candidates vying for the position which has just been vacated by Mr Roberto Azevedo of Brazil.
He wrote, “In these challenging times, the World Trade Organisation needs the renowned skills and tested experience of Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala to lead the organisation through identified obstacles and strengthen its position as the prime facilitator of international trade.
“A vote for her by all is a step in the right direction. I fully endorse the candidature of Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala to lead WTO.”
The new WTO chief will be tasked with managing the trade war between China and the United States, initiate reforms in the face of rising protectionism and steer the world to new trade pastures in the face of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The organisation, this month will begin three rounds of consultations – dubbed “confessionals” — in which all member states confidentially voice their preferences, gradually whittling down the list.
The process, based on consensus, is expected to last until November 3 but soaring international tensions and growing politicisation of picks to head UN agencies and other international organisations could see them speed up the process.
Members failed last month to pick an acting chief from among four deputy directors, something that is normally a straightforward process. This spelt urgency and a huge task for whoever will lead the organisation.
Mrs Okonjo-Iweala will battle against Mrs Amina Mohamed from Kenya, Mr Liam Fox the United Kingdom, Mr Jesús Seade from Mexico, Mr Hamid Mahmoud from Egypt, Ms Yoo Myung-hee from South Korea, Mr Mohammed al-Tuwaijri from Saudi Arabia, and Mr Tudor Ulianovschi from Moldova.
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