Former minister of finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, was on Monday declared the first female and first African leader of the World Trade Organisation.
Recall that US President Joe Biden strongly swung behind her candidacy shortly after the only other remaining contender, South Korean Trade Minister Yoo Myung-hee pulled out.
Reacting to her appointment, Okonjo-Iweala said a key priority for her would be to work with members to quickly address the economic and health consequences brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Here are six things to must about Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala as WTO DG:
1. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala was born on 13 June 1954 in Ogwashi-Ukwu, Delta State, Nigeria where her father Professor Chukwuka Okonjo was the Obi (King) from the Obahai Royal Family of Ogwashi-Ukwu.
2. She sits on the Boards of Standard Chartered Bank, Twitter, Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI), and the African Risk Capacity (ARC).
3. She boasts of a 25-year career at the World Bank as a development economist, scaling the ranks to the number 2 position as Managing Director, Operations (2007–2011).
4. Okonjo was the first woman to become Finance Minister of Nigeria, and first woman to serve in that office twice. In 2005, Euromoney named her global Finance Minister of the year. She served two terms as Finance Minister of Nigeria (2003–2006, 2011–2015) under President Olusegun Obasanjo and President Goodluck Jonathan respectively.
5. Okonjo-Iweala attended her secondary school at Queen’s School, Enugu, St. Anne’s School, Molete, Ibadan and the International School Ibadan. She arrived in the US in 1973 as a teenager to study at Harvard University, graduating magna cum laude with an AB in Economics in 1976. In 1981, she earned her PhD in regional Economics and Development from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) with a thesis titled Credit policy, rural financial markets, and Nigeria’s agricultural development. She received an international fellowship from the American Association of University Women (AAUW), that supported her doctoral studies.
6. On February 15, 2021, she was appointed as the Director-General the World Trade Organisation with her term commencing on 1 March 2021, making her the first woman and the first African to occupy the position.