The Federal Government Thursday appealed to members of the World Trade organisation to endorse Nigeria’s nomination, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala in her aspiration for the position of Director-General of the global body. Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Mrs Mariam Katagum, made this call in a statement to news men in Abuja.
Katagum, who is also the Chairperson of the Okonjo-Iweala Campaign Team, described her as “the best choice for the job”.
She commended the Economic Community of West African States and the European Union for backing the Nigerian candidate.
The minister said, “These are excellent testimonies of her eminent qualification for the top job. The WTO as of today needs a DG with multiple skills to revive the challenged spirit of trade liberalisation worldwide. The WTO faces a lot of problems currently, and confronting these challenges necessarily requires building trust among the membership especially as the problems are not solely of a technical nature.
“Only a DG with the requisite political and negotiating skills coupled with multilateral experience can ensure deep engagement of the Members in order to restore trust and build a truly efficient organisation.
“Dr Iweala’s qualities and experience in managing multilateral issues, in trade facilitation and negotiation as well as brokering deals and agreements with high political stakes, put her in good standing.”
Earlier in her response to the show of affection on her quest for the WTO top job by stakeholders, Nigeria’s for Coordinating Minister for the Economy Dr Mrs Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala in her verified tweeter handle said “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!”
Ms Okonjo-Iweala, a former finance minister, had told the BBC that it was the ordinary African that she was most concerned with.
She said that she wanted to “figure out how to get women and youth, who are behind these engines of growth in Africa, to benefit more from world trade”. She was also keen to make sure that the continent moves away from exporting raw materials and instead “adds value to the goods or products we produce for the global market.
“For instance, we import 94% of pharmaceuticals on the continent while we can produce these locally in Africa.”