Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala from Nigeria is appointed as the next World Trade Organisation (WTO) Director-General. Dr. Ngozi makes history as the first woman and the first African to lead the WTO. Her term starts on the 1st of March 2021.

Here is a statement by the Chair of the General Council, Ambassador David WALKER (New Zealand) on the appointment of Dr. Ngozi as the next Director-General;

“And last but certainly not least, I would like to pay tribute to Members for their sustained engagement, support and constructive attitude, including during challenging times and through to the positive developments of these last few days. This has finally made it possible for us to take this process to its intended destination.

With these words, it is with great pleasure that I now turn to the business of today’s meeting for appropriate action by the General Council. In accordance with paragraph 19 of the Procedures, I as General Council Chair, supported by the Facilitators, thereby recommend formally that the General Council agree to appoint Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala of Nigeria as the next Director-General of the WTO, starting on 1st of March 2021 until 31 August 2025.

This appointment is made pursuant to paragraph 21 of the Procedures in document WT/L/509, mutatis mutantis; and the understanding reached by the General Council in July 2020 regarding interim arrangements will continue to apply until the beginning of the term of office of the DG-designate, on 1st of March 2021.

Can I take it that this is agreeable?

It is so agreed.

Thank you. This is a very significant moment for the WTO. On behalf of the General Council, I extend our warmest congratulations to Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala on her appointment as WTO next Director-General and formally welcome her to this General Council meeting.

Dr Ngozi, on behalf of all Members I wish to sincerely thank you for your graciousness in these exceptional months, and for your patience. We look forward to collaborating closely with you, Dr Ngozi, and I am certain that all Members will work with you constructively during your tenure as Director-General to shape the future of this organization.

I reiterate once again my appreciation and gratitude for the constructive approach taken by all Members in developing and finalizing consensus in this appointment process, and it is with great pleasure that I now invite Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala to take the floor.



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