"I feel honoured to lead", says first female WTO Director General, Okonjo-Iweala

The first female Director General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has declared she is honoured to have been selected to lead the organisation.

“I am honoured to have been selected by WTO members as WTO Director-General,” Okonjo-Iweala said on Monday afternoon.

“A strong WTO is vital if we are to recover fully and rapidly from the devastation wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I look forward to working with members to shape and implement the policy responses we need to get the global economy going again.

“Our organisation faces a great many challenges but working together we can collectively make the WTO stronger, more agile and better adapted to the realities of today.”

Okonjo-Iweala was appointed the DG on Monday after months of uncertainty at the trade body.

The WTO thanked the former Minister for her graciousness and patience through the selection process.

“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 the WTO’s next Director-General and formally welcome her to this General Council meeting,” said David Walker, the General Council chair, said.

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“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 organisation,” he added.

Walker, who is from New Zealand, worked with co-facilitators Dacio Castillo (Honduras) and Harald Aspelund (Iceland) through the nine-month DG selection process.

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