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79 countries back Okonjo-Iweala for WTO top job

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Nigeria’s former minister of finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has claimed to have the support of 79 countries as she seeks to become Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Speaking during a virtual press conference on Friday, October 16, the former World Bank vice-president said the 55-man African Union (AU) has officially endorsed her over South Korea’s Yoo Myung-Hee, who is her only opponent.

Okonjo-Iweala also claims a group of Caribbean and Pacific states have declared their intention to back her, bringing the number of countries endorsing her candidacy to 79.

According to her, she remains “optimistic” about support from Latin America and said she felt she had gotten “very good traction and good support” in Asia so far.

The European Union (EU) are due to announce its preference soon.

“I feel the wind behind my back.

“I feel quite confident that across the regions, we will be able to attract support,” Okonjo-Iweala added.

The new WTO director-general when elected will replace Roberto Azevedo, who stepped down as DG in August, a year ahead of schedule.

The international organisation is also set to be led by a woman for the first time in history.

 
 
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