Never miss a story

Get subscribed to our newsletter

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is to chair the WTO. Pixabay

In a historic move, the World Trade Organization (WTO) has chosen the first woman and first African to lead the organization. Nigerian economist Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, 66, was named director-general of the WTO Monday by representatives of the 164 countries that make up the organization.

Okonjo-Iweala said during an online news conference Monday that she was eager to begin the work of reforming the organization and modernizing the rules to bring them up to 21st-century issues.

Follow NewsGram on Facebook to stay updated.

“I am grateful for the trust you have in me not just as a woman and an African, but also in my knowledge and experience and, as some of you have said, courage and passion to work with you to undertake the wide-ranging reforms the WTO needs to reposition itself for the future,” she said.

COVID-19 vaccine a priority

She said one of her key priorities is to focus on the issue of COVID-19, including working with the COVAX and ACT Accelerator facilities to speed up supplies and vaccines to poor countries.

“We also encourage finding, what I call a third way, in which vaccines can be manufactured in many more countries whilst taking care that we do not discourage research and innovation, which is linked to intellectual property rights. So, this is an area of work,” she said.

Appointment blocked by Trump

Okonjo-Iweala’s selection as WTO chief was held up for many months because former U.S. President Donald Trump did not back her, arguing that she lacked direct trade experience compared to other candidates.

The Biden administration dropped the U.S. objection, clearing the way for Okonjo-Iweala to getting the top job.

World Trade Centre is the largest trading body in the world. Pixabay

The Nigerian economist is a 25-year veteran of the World Bank, where she advocated for economic growth in poorer countries. She rose to the No. 2 position of that organization, where she helped to oversee $81 billion in development financing for Africa, South Asia, Europe, and Central Asia.

In 2012, she campaigned unsuccessfully for the top position at the World Bank, challenging the traditional practice that the organization is always headed by an American.

Severed as Nigeria finance minister

Okonjo-Iweala has also served as Nigeria’s finance minister and helped to broker a deal in 2005 to cancel billions of dollars of Nigerian debt with the Paris Club of creditor nations.

She has a bachelor’s degree in economics from Harvard University and a Ph.D. in regional economics and development from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

ALSO READ: Maharajah Gaekwad And His Legacy

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari said Okonjo-Iweala’s election to head the WTO brought “more joy and honor to the country.”

Okonjo-Iweala said Monday that the challenges facing the WTO were numerous and tricky, but not insurmountable.

In addition to tackling the economic challenges surrounding the coronavirus pandemic, the new WTO head will also need to face long-standing trade issues that have divided many nations, including the U.S.-China trade conflict and pressure to reform trade rules. (VOA)


ryunosuke kikuno/unsplash

Hosting the Olympics is an economic burden on host cities which mainly include construction delays, cost overruns, security issues, and environmental concerns.

By Saish

Gone are those days when people, sports enthusiasts, and governments lined up to host the Olympics. Hosting the Olympics, once seemed to be an immensely prideful event, but it has now transformed into an economic burden. Host cities grapple with a plethora of problems which mainly include construction delays, cost overruns, security issues, and environmental concerns.

Keep Reading Show less

Tokyo Olympics 2020 Indian wrestler Ravi Kumar enter semi finals.

Indian wrestler Ravi Kumar (57kg) and Deepak Punia (86kg) enjoyed fruitful outings at the Tokyo Olympic Games as they secured semifinal berths in their respective weight categories at the Makuhari Messe on Wednesday.

On the opening day of the wrestling competition, Ravi Kumar defeated Bulgaria's Georgi Vangelov 14-4 on technical superiority to reach the last-four in the men's 57kg category, while compatriot Deepak Punia overcame China's Zushen Lin 6-3 on points to advance to the semifinals.

Ravi Kumar will take on Nurislam Sanayev of Kazakhstan in the last-four, while Punia will be up against David Morris Taylor of the USA.

Earlier, Ravi Kumar had won his opening-round bout by technical superiority against Colombia's Oscar Tigreros to secure a quarterfinal spot. Competing in the Round-of-16 bout against the Colombian wrestler, the 23-year-old Ravi Kumar, who is making his Olympic debut, showed no nerves as he dominated the bout to win by technical superiority (13-2).

Ravi Kumar landed attack after attack and went 13-2 up, winning the bout by technical superiority with minutes to spare. In wrestling, building up a 10-point lead over the opponent results in a victory by technical superiority.

India's 86kg freestyle wrestler Deepak Punia showed no signs of the niggle that had forced him to pull out of the Poland Open Ranking Series in Warsaw in June, as he defeated Nigeria's Ekerekeme Agiomor on technical superiority to secure a quarterfinal berth.

He got his Olympic campaign to a fine start as he was in control from the start of the bout and hardly ever allowed his Nigerian opponent any room to maneuver his moves, finally winning with a 12-1 on technical superiority.

Punia, who had also suffered an elbow injury just before the Games, was slow at the start but came into his own as the bout progressed, inflicting takedowns at regular intervals to earn points.

The Indian wrestler eased into a 4-1 lead at the break and extended his lead comfortably in the second period.

Punia, the silver medallist from the 2019 world wrestling championships, then set up a clash with China's Lin Zushen in the quarterfinals and defeated him 6-3.