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How young Nigerians influenced my WTO DG win – Okonjo Iweala

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Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala | Image: ERIC BARADAT-AFP via Getty Images

The Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, on Monday said encouragement from Nigerians on social media, especially the youths, contributed to her win as the director-general of the World Trade Organisation.

“I say it and I will not stop saying it – without all of you and without support from ordinary Nigerians, especially the young people who were always on social media all the time encouraging me, I wouldn’t have been able to make it because it was a very tough competition with eight of us at the start, over a period of six months – very grueling – so it needed a lot of encouragement,” Okonjo-Iweala said during a visit to Nigeria’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

“It’s a proud thing that Nigeria has been able to make it. I am honoured and humbled to have been selected.”

Okonjo-Iweala arrived Nigeria on Saturday for a four-day official visit aimed at enhancing trade and improving the Nigerian economy.

The WTO DG on Monday visited the Ministry of Foreign Affairs where she was received by delegates led by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama.

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She also appreciated the minister for his role in contributing to her success in her race for the WTO DG seat.

“You worked night and day along with the Ministry of Trade and Investment and Minister of State for Foreign Affairs. You worked personally to make sure that this happens,” Okonjo-Iweala said.

“I remember calling you so many nights with one complaint or the other or one demand or the other and you kept your cool and were always trying to sort it all out.”

Okonjo-Iweala is the first African and first woman to lead the organisation.

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She could have been installed as the boss of WTO late 2020 but the then American president Donald Trump threw its weight behind South Korea Trade Minister Yoo Myung-hee.

Months after the key ambassadors of the trade organisation and President Joe Biden administration recommended her for the job she was finally appointed the DG of the organisation on Monday February 15.

Following her appointment as the WTO DG, Nigerians on social media, started a challenge tagged #BelikeNogozichallenge to celebrate her win.

Okonjo-Iweala served as Nigeria’s finance minister and spent 25 years at the World Bank, where she rose to the number-two position of managing director.
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