By Victoria Ojeme
Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Ambassador Mariam Katagum has called for the endorsement of Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala by Heads of State Delegations to the World Trade Organisation, WTO, based on her antecedents, competence and statement to the General Council.
The second phase of consultation for the appointment of a new WTO, Director-General was concluded on October, 6 with the final round underway. According to observers, Dr. Okonjo-Iweala is widely favoured to clinch the top job.
In a statement, Chairperson of the Okonjo-Iweala Campaign Team, Katagum charged Heads of Delegations to read again, the statement of intent and agenda submitted by Dr Okonjo-Iweala, describing the former Nigerian Minister of Finance as “the best choice for the job”.
She commended the series of endorsements of Dr. Iweala’s candidacy from the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, to the European Union, EU as “an excellent testimony of her eminent qualification for the top job”, adding that “ the WTO needs a DG with multiple skills to revive the challenged spirit of trade liberalisation world wide.
“The WTO faces a lot of problems currently. Confronting these challenges necessarily requires building trust among the membership especially as the problems are not solely of a technical nature. Only a DG with the requisite political and negotiating skills coupled with multilateral experience can ensure deep engagement of the Members in order to restore trust and build a truly efficient organisation. Dr Iweala is the right fit,” she said.
Katagum, who before her appointment was the Nigerian Ambassador, Permanent Delegate to UNESCO said that that Okonjo-Iweala’s qualities and experience in managing multilateral issues, in trade facilitation and negotiation as well as brokering deals and agreements with high political stakes, puts her in good standing.
“Her suitability is a product of past and present experience garnered from her Vice Presidency at the World Bank; Finance Ministry portfolio in Nigeria; and her other current global assignments, including with the Gavi Board where she is the Chairperson,” she said.
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