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ECOWAS declares support for Okonjo-Iweala for WTO DG

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The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has declared support for Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Nigeria’s former Finance Minister, for the World Trade Organization (WTO) Director-General.

ECOWAS in a statement dated June 19, 2020, and broadcasted by the Minister of Foreign Affairs Minister, Geoffrey Onyema, on Twitter, explained that it took the decision based on the authority of the Heads of State and Government of its member-nations.

#ECOWAS has formally endorsed Dr. @NOIweala for the position of Director-General of the World Trade Organisation for the period of 2021-2025.
#ECOWAS also called on other African and Non-African countries to do same.

The statement signed by the ECOWAS President, Mahamadou Issoufou, reinforces Okonjo-Iweala’s candidacy after the African Union (AU) last week rejected her nomination.

The ECOWAS President explained that the body’s endorsement of Okonjo-Iweala followed the information it got from chairman of the General Council of the WTO informing the regional body of her nomination alongside four others for the role.

ECOWAS said it also took the decision having “acknowledged the strong academic and professional background of Dr. Okonjo-Iweala and her very large experience in national affairs as Nigeria’s Finance Minister (2003-2006) and Nigeria’s Foreign Affairs Minister briefly in 2006.”

The statement added that since the inception of the WTO, no African has worked as the DG of the body, making the endorsement more appropriate.

Issoufou, therefore, called on other African and non-African countries to back the former World Bank Managing Director’s candidacy, saying Africa needs a strong representative in the WTO election.

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