Friday, 09 October 2020 11:24

Photo Credit:Fabrice COFFRINI.

African Union Chairperson, President Cyril Ramaphosa, has called on the continent to rally behind Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to be elected as the first African at the helm of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

President Ramaphosa congratulated Okonjo-Iweala on her advancement to the third and final stage of the selection process for the position of the Director-General (DG) at the WTO.

Okonjo-Iweala is the first African woman to stand for election and reach the final stage of selection for the WTO DG post.

“Dr Okonjo-Iweala is a highly distinguished African, who has excelled in various public offices, in her native Nigeria, including responsibilities in the AU, and in numerous international assignments.

“At a time when international organisations need to be repurposed, Dr Okonjo-Iweala is the right person to reposition the WTO in order to be an effective instrument for facilitating a fair, just, equitable and rules-based trading system. I have no doubt that she has the credentials and capability to restore order in an otherwise turbulent multilateral trading system,” President Ramaphosa said.

He encouraged all Member States of the African Union to rally behind Dr Okonjo-Iweala during the final round of nominations, which will see for the first time in the history of the WTO, the appointment of a female Director-General and most likely and preferably, one coming from the African continent.

President Ramaphosa has expressed his optimism that other regions and countries will also unite and support the African candidate, whose leadership of the WTO will assist in the full integration of the continent as an important player in the global multilateral trading system.

He expressed pride in the high calibre of the candidates from the continent, including Abdel Hamid Mamdouh of Egypt and Amina Mohamed of Kenya, whom he thanked for availing themselves for the WTO DG selection process.