May 20, 2024

Okonjo-Iweala for WTO’s job as Korean candidate withdraws

South Korean Trade Minister and candidate for the World Trade Organisation’s top job, Yoo Myung-hee, has withdrawn her bid to lead the global trade body.

Her decision leaves former Nigerian Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala as the only remaining candidate for the top job.

Ms Yoo made the decision after discussions with the United States and other major nations, a statement from Korea’s trade ministry said on Friday.

She also took various issues into account “comprehensively” including the need to revitalise the multilateral organization, reports said Friday.

The World Trade Organisation members has last October selected Mrs Okonjo-Iweala and Ms Yoo to advance to the final round in the race to lead the Geneva-based trade body.

Mrs Okonjo-Iweala is, however, largely considered the shoo-in among experts and influential figures within the WTO.

Mrs Okonjo-Iweala was Nigeria’s finance minister during the tenures of former presidents Olusegun Obasanjo and Goodluck Jonathan. She has experience working at international governance bodies as a former managing director of the World Bank and as a chairman at the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization.

With the coast now almost clear for Mrs Okonjo-Iweala’s emergence, the WTO is poised to have its first female director-general in its 25-year history.