Emerging report indicates that the 27 European Union, EU, member-States have backed Nigeria’s Candidate, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, in her bid to become the first African and first female Director-General, DG, of the World Trade Organisation, WTO.
The EU member-States are France, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, and Sweden.
The latest support for he candidacy, brings the number of countries officially endorsing her to 106, out of the 164 States that comprise the WTO.
The 55-member African Union, AU, had earlier officially supported Okonjo-Iweala, over her sole remaining opponent, Yoo Myung-hee, of South Korea.
Okonjo-Iweala had also won the goodwill of a group of Caribbean and Pacific States, as well as others from Asia.
When the EU member-States convened on Monday, they failed to find a consensus around the choice, but the EU Representatives reconvened and agreed to back Okonjo-Iweala, according to AFP news agency.
The WTO’s consultation process ends today, and the new DG is expected to be named in November, but an EU Official said that the EU will publicly announce its support for Okonjo-Iweala today.
The final winner between the two women will replace Brazil’s Roberto Azevedo and former Director-General of the 25-year-old World Trade Organisation.
The third and final round of consultations seeking to establish consensus around one Candidate, is due to end today, with the announcement due in early November.
If Okonjo-Iweala is confirmed DG, she will join the WTO at a difficult time, with the world facing a deep post-coronavirus recession, and a crisis of confidence in free trade and globalisation.
More news later…