Former UK Prime Minister Endorses Okonjo-Iweala for WTO Job

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Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

New director general to emerge in November

By Dike Onwuamaeze

Despite the fact that United Kingdom has a candidate vying for the upcoming World Trade Organisation (WTO) director-general election, former Prime Minister, Mr. Gordon Brown, has endorsed Nigeria’s candidate, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala for the position.

This is coming as the WTO has indicated that its substantive director general would be chosen by November 7, 2020, to replace the outgoing Director General of the WTO, Mr. Roberto Azevedo.

The Times, a British newspaper, quoted Brown as saying Okonjo-Iweala has a record of delivering results in “the toughest of jobs”.

Former UK Trade Secretary, Liam Fox, is the British candidate in the WTO election.

Brown said Okonjo-Iweala is respected across the world and that she would make an “outstanding success” of running WTO, which is facing an existential crisis while searching for its next director-general and grappling with the global economic disruption caused by COVID-19.

Meanwhile, the WTO has indicated that its substantive director general would be chosen by November 7, 2020, to replace the outgoing Director General of the WTO, Mr. Roberto Azevedo.

Azevedo announced in May that he would be resigning his appointment on August 31, a year ahead of the end of his tenure.

This November 7 date for the emergence of new director general was disclosed yesterday during a press conference by the WTO’s Head of Press Section, Mr. Daniel Pruzin, who stated that the selection process would be guided “what we did in 2013” when the incumbent director general was chosen.

Pruzin also said that the selection process of the new director general has entered its third phase that would run between July and September 2020.

He also disclosed that the third phase would consist of a three stage process that would prune the number of the candidates from eight to one. It would also be a period when the troika (a committee of three) would ask the candidates a single question: “what are your preferences? And they will not be expected to put negative preferences.”