Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala: A Well-Qualified New Leader for the WTO

Incoming World Trade Organization (WTO) Director General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala speaks during an interview with Reuters in Potomac, Maryland, U.S. on February 15, 2021.

Incoming World Trade Organization (WTO) Director General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala speaks during an interview with Reuters in Potomac, Maryland, U.S. on February 15, 2021. Joshua Roberts/Reuters

Nevertheless, the WTO and its membership could read a calendar as well as anyone else, and so the debate over the next director general remained frozen until after the U.S. presidential elections. After consulting with U.S. officials earlier this month, Myung-hee withdrew her candidacy. The Biden administration then formally expressed its support for Okonjo-Iweala.

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is, among other things, board chair of Gavi, a global alliance to ensure low-income countries can access life-saving vaccines. She has already signaled that high on her agenda at the WTO will be to promote and facilitate the enhanced distribution of COVID-19 vaccines and protective equipment.


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