The World Trade Organisation (WTO) has formally announced that Nigeria’s Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and contender, South Korea’s Yoo Myung Hee have both emerged as finalists to become the 7th Direct-General (DG) of WTO by November 7, 2020. Both candidates reacted to this announcement on their twitter page, Okonjo-Iweala wrote, “Happy to be in the final round of the @WTO DG campaign. Thanks, WTO members for your continued support of my candidacy. I could not have made it without the prayers and support of all Nigerians and friends around the world. Thank you @MBuhari and all my friends. Aluta continua!”
While Myung Hee said she was “Deeply grateful and honored to be selected for the final round in the selection process of the next @WTO Director General! We need a capable & experienced new leader who can build trust and restore relevance of the @WTO. I look forward to your continued support! Thank you!!!”
Initially, there were 8 candidates that applied for the position of Director-General of WTO of which all went through rigorous screening at the Organization's emerged Headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. The organization later selected Iweala and Myung-Hee as both emerged finalists for the position.
This would be the first time in the history of WTO where a female will head the organization. The organization has once had an Asian as DG from Thailand but if Iweala emerges as DG, she will be the first African to hold the position.
The 2 finalists were chosen because of their wealth of experience and WTO said “Both candidates were able to secure the broadest and deepest support from the membership.”
Iweala, 66, has a Ph.D. in Economics and Development, MIT. She served twice as Nigeria’s Finance minister (2003-2006) and (2011-2015) and was briefly Minister of Foreign Affairs in 2006, the first woman to hold both positions. She also has a 25-year track record as a development economist at the World Bank, eventually becoming a Managing Director.
Myung-Hee, 53, is currently South Korea’s first female trade minister after a career in trade diplomacy and foreign affairs. She has experience with the US and China trade and helped to develop South Korea’s trade network through bilateral agreements with the US, China, and the UK.