Has WTO Declared Nigerian Candidate Okonjo-Iweala the New Director-General?

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There are reports claiming that Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has been appointed as the first female Director-General of the World Trade Organization(WTO).

This was published in an article on the Observers Times news site, and also shared on the Observers Times Twitter account in a tweet that attracted over 6,000 retweets, with other users posting the same information.

Background

According to a statement on the WTO website, outgoing Director-General (DG) Roberto Azevêdo on May 14 announced that he will be stepping down on August 31, cutting his second term as WTO DG by one year. The statement reveals that Mr Azevêdo said that his move to complete seven years as DG came about as a personal decision.

Therefore, the WTO General Council Chair David Walker on May 20 announced the appointment process for a new DG. Nominations for the position were opened on June 8, and saw eight candidates proceed to the second phase of the selection process.

Okonjo-Iweala was among the eight nominees. Her website cites that she is an international development professional with over 30 years of experience in various continents. According to the website post, Okonjo-Iweala is currently the chairperson of the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (Gavi) board. She also served as Nigeria’s Finance Minister for two terms and is renowned as the first female and black candidate to contest for the presidency of the World Bank Group in 2012.

Verification

WTO has not yet announced its new Director-General.

A statement on the WTO Twitter account indicates that the process of selecting the Director-General is still in the third phase, and consultations for the same will be resuming on October 19.

According to a post on WTO’s website, the last meeting in regards to the appointment of a new Director-General was held on October 8. During this meeting, two out of five candidates were selected to proceed to the third and final stage of the process. The two finalists are Nigeria’s Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and Yoo Myung-hee of the Republic of Korea.

Moreover, Okonjo-Iweala’s Twitter account, where she has been communicating about her bid for the WTO seat does not contain any information declaring her appointment. On the contrary, she on October 8 published a post announcing that she has proceeded to the final stage of the selection process.

Verdict

Reports claiming that Nigerian candidate for the WTO Director-General position Okonjo-Iweala has been selected for the position are FALSE.

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Linda Ngari