Former Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has appreciated Nigerians for supporting her bid for the position of Director-General of the World Trade Organisation.
Okonjo-Iweala, who made it to the third and final stage of the selection process on Thursday, said she could not have made it without the prayers and support of all Nigerians.
Reacting via her verified Twitter handle, she wrote: “Happy to be in the final round of the @wto DG campaign. Thanks, WTO members for your continued support of my candidacy.
“I could not have made it without the prayers and support of all Nigerians and friends around the world. Thank you @MBuhari and all my friends. Aluta continua!”
The WTO General Council Chairman, David Walker of New Zealand and his co-facilitators in the selection process disclosed that Okonjo-Iweala and Yoo Myung-hee of South Korea have advanced to the final round of consultations which will determine the next WTO DG.
Walker explained that the two candidates “secured the broadest and deepest support from the membership” and they are of “outstanding qualifications.”
He emphasised that the ultimate objective of the selection process is to secure a consensus decision by members on the next Director-General.
“On behalf of the entire membership, I would like to express deep gratitude for their participation in this selection process. It was clear that members consider them individuals of outstanding qualifications. I am sure you will all agree with us that in participating in the selection process, the candidates have all made a significant contribution to the standing and image of the WTO,” he told reporters in Geneva on Thursday.
By advancing two women to the final round of the selection process, the WTO is set to have the first female Director-General in its 25-year history.
Okonjo-Iweala served two stints as Nigeria’s finance minister and one term as foreign affairs minister.
She has experience working at international governance bodies as a former managing director of the World Bank, and as a chairman at the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation.
Myung-hee is South Korea’s Trade Minister. During her 25-year career in government, she helped to expand her country’s trade network through bilateral accords with the United States, China and the United Kingdom.
The third and final phase of the consultation process will begin later this month and run until November 6, after which the WTO will name a consensus winner of the race.