First of her kind: Okonjo-Iweala to be Inaugurated as the First Female African Director-General of the World Trade Organisation Today.
Three months after her rejection by the Trump administration, former Nigerian finance minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is set to be confirmed as the first female and first African director-general of the World Trade Organization.
A 25-year veteran of the World Bank, Okonjo-Iweala ran against seven other candidates having as the core of her campaign "a belief" in trade's ability to lift people out of poverty.
Pretty resourceful with a track record of taking on seemingly difficult problems, Okonjo-Iweala has a lot on her plate. In a position that wields limited formal power, Okonjo-Iweala will have to oversee international trade talks in the face of persistent U.S./China conflict, respond to pressure to reform trade rules and counter protectionism heightened by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Also on her plate is the issue of waiving intellectual property rights for COVID-19 drugs, with many wealthy countries opposed and the fisheries subsidies, which constituted the subject of the WTO's main multilateral talks at the end of 2020.
"Okonjo-Iweala becomes one of the few female heads of a major multilateral body. She is expected to join the WTO's Geneva lakeside headquarters within weeks where her portrait is set to be hung beside others of men, mostly white and from rich countries."