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Monday, March 1, 2021

women power from Nigeria .. .. Okonjo-Iweala rises to become Director General of WTO

Nigeria  is a sovereign country in West Africa bordering Niger, Chad, Cameroon  and Benin. Its southern coast is on the Gulf of Guinea in the Atlantic Ocean. It is a federal republic comprising 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory, where the capital, Abuja, is located. Lagos is the most populous city in the country and the African continent.

Nigerian government planned to vaccinate approximately 109 million citizens that will be eligible for the Covid-19 vaccination in two years, a senior health official has said. Speaking at the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on Covid-19 media briefing in Abuja, Head of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency, said the agency remains in anticipation of COVID-19 vaccines from the COVAX facility and the African Union, Xinhua news agency reported on Tuesday.   "After excluding those that are under 18 years old, we plan to vaccinate approximately 109 million Nigerians that will be eligible for Covid-19 vaccination in two years," he said.

Beyond the barriers of any Nation, Global rules of trade provide assurance and stability. Consumers and producers know they can enjoy secure supplies and greater choice of the finished products, components, raw materials and services they use. Producers and exporters know foreign markets will remain open to them. Established in 1995, The World Trade Organization (WTO) is the only global international organization dealing with the rules of trade between nations. At its heart are the WTO agreements, negotiated and signed by the bulk of the world’s trading nations and ratified in their parliaments. The Director-General of the World Trade Organization is the officer of the World Trade Organization (WTO) responsible for supervising and directing the organization's administrative operations. Since the World Trade Organization's decisions are made by member states, through either a Ministerial Conference or through the General Council, the Director-General has little power over matters of policy – the role is primarily advisory and managerial in nature.

The post of Director-General has been vacant since 31 Aug 2020, after the resignation of Roberto Azevêdo of Brazil who had held the post since 2013. On February 5, 2021, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala of Nigeria secured the support of the United States for Director-General of the WTO. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, is a Nigerian-American economist and international development expert. She sits on the boards of Standard Chartered Bank, Twitter, Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization, and the African Risk Capacity (ARC). On 15 February 2021, she was appointed as Director-General of the World Trade Organization. Her term will begin on 1 March 2021, making her the first woman and the first African to hold the office.

Previously, Okonjo-Iweala spent a 25-year career at the World Bank as a development economist, scaling the ranks to the Number 2 position of Managing Director, Operations (2007–2011). She also served two terms as Finance Minister of Nigeria (2003–2006, 2011–2015) under President Olusegun Obasanjo and President Goodluck Jonathan respectively. She was the first woman to serve as the country's finance minister and the first woman to serve in that office twice. In 2005, Euromoney named her global finance minister of the year.  In 2003 she led efforts to improve Nigeria’s macroeconomic management including the implementation of an oil-price based fiscal rule where revenues accruing above a reference benchmark oil price were saved in a special account, "The Excess Crude Account" which helped to reduce macroeconomic volatility.

She also introduced the practice of publishing each state's monthly financial allocation from the Federal Government of Nigeria in the newspapers. This action went a long way in increasing transparency in governance. With the support of the World Bank and the IMF to the Federal Government, she helped build an electronic financial management platform—the Government Integrated Financial Management and Information System (GIFMIS), including the Treasury Single Account (TSA) and the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS), helping to curtail corruption in the process.

She is married to Ikemba Iweala, a neurosurgeon from Umuahia, Abia State, Nigeria. They have four children.  During her campaign to become the next Director-General of the WTO, it was revealed that Okonjo-Iweala became a US citizen in 2019 after spending several decades working and studying there.  Given the ongoing trade tensions between China and the US, analysts commented that the disclosure would be a contributing factor in shaping China’s attitude towards her.

Woman power from Africa, Nigeria !!

With regards – S. Sampathkumar



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