WTO: Financial Expert Sets Agenda for Okonjo-Iweala

*New DG, WTO
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By Chinyere Joel-Nwokeoma

The Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has been urged to work with members of the body to quickly address the economic and health consequences occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mrs Omotayo Adeola, an Investment banker and Managing Director, Restorium Capital Ltd. gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) In Lagos, while reacting to Okonjo-Iweala’s appointment.

NAN reports that Okonjo-Iweala was appointed as the Director-General of WTO on Monday after several months of delay.

The WTO members took the decision to appoint Okonjo-Iweala at a special meeting of the General Council, following a selection process that included eight candidates from around the world.

Okonjo-Iweala is the first African and first woman to lead the organisation and her term will begin on March 1.

Adeola told NAN that the key agenda for WTO under Okonjo-Iweala will be to address the economic and health impacts of COVID-19 pandemic.

She said that Nigeria should take advantage of WTO membership to increase volume of trade, foreign direct investment inflow as well as enhancement of foreign exchange earnings.

Adeola also called for market access for the country’s exportable commodities through the removal of technical and non-technical barriers to trade.

“A focused and regular engagement with strategic trading partners of Nigeria who are members of the WTO both at bilateral, plurilateral and multilateral levels should be embarked upon to ensure the integration of the Nigerian economy into the multilateral trading system,”she said.

This, according to her, will enable Nigeria have its good share of the global market in terms of export of value-added products.

“As the Director-General of the WTO, we expect that there should be a change in the current perception that developing countries and emerging markets are not being treated fairly by main actors in WTO.

“Nigeria and other African countries are expected to define their national and regional interests and priorities on the basis of which its position on the various issues being negotiated would be defended, rather than negotiating individually,”she said.


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