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Okonjo-Iweala officially begins work as WTO Director-General

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Former Nigerian finance minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala on Monday took over officially as the new director-general of the World Trade Organization.

Ngozi was last month elected the first woman and also first African to lead the institution.

Her appointment was made shortly after WTO held a special general council meeting after receiving the backing of the US government.

Okonjo-Iweala is now succeeding Brazilian Roberto Azevedo, who unexpectedly left the WTO at the end of August 2020, a year early than expected.

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Okonjo-Iweala previously served as Nigeria’s finance minister on two occasions and once as a foreign affairs minister.

She also served as former managing director of the World Bank.

On her first day at work who took the floor at a WTO meeting for the first time as Director-General, attending the General Council.

She and the chair of WTO fisheries subsidies talks, welcomed civil society’s plea for a successful conclusion to the negotiations.

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She also visited an ice sculpture set up in front of the WTO headquarters by the #StopFundingOverfishing coalition.

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has said she is ready to tackle the challenges of the institution.

She said shortly after her appointment that “now the real work begins. Ready to tackle the challenges of WTO. Forget Business as usual!”



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