Following President Muhammadu Buhari’s request, presidents of West African countries have repeated their commitment to the victory of Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala for the position of Director-General of the World Trade Organization.
Reiterating that the former Nigerian finance minister is the only candidate supported by the sub-region, they urged Africa to unite behind her candidacy as the continent’s best option in the hotly contested race.
The leaders expressed the strong show of support during the 57th Ordinary Session of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) which took place recently in Niamey, Republic of Niger.
The event which held at the Mahatma Gandhi International Conference Centre, Niamey, considered reports from the 44th Ordinary Session of the Mediation and Security Council at the Ministerial Level and the 84th Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Council of Ministers, which preceded the summit.
According to the presidents who spoke at the event, the focus of the sub-region is to persuade other African countries to support Nigeria’s highly respected pick for the position, one of five candidates who recently scaled the first stage of the WTO leadership hurdle.
The expression of support follows the endorsement of Okonjo-Iweala by the sub-regional body in June anchored on the former World Bank managing director’s track record of high performance and leadership in top positions.
According to the presidents, Okonjo-Iweala is eminently qualified to head the WTO based on her “long years of managerial experience at the top echelon of multilateral institutions, her reputation as a fearless reformer, her excellent negotiating and political skills, her experience of over 30 years as a developmental economist with a long-standing interest in trade, her excellent academic qualification, her position as managing director of the World Bank, and currently as Board Chair, Gavi, and AU Special Envoy to mobilize financial resources for the fight against COVID-19.’’