Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala 1st day as WTO Director-General

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala 1st day: The new director-general of the World Trade Organization, WTO, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has arrived at its Geneva headquarters for her first day on the job.

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala 1st day as WTO Director-General

She is the first African and first woman to hold the post.

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, 66, a Nigerian economist and former government minister, donned a mask as she made brief comments to reporters on way into the imposing building on the shores of Lake Geneva on Monday.

“I am coming into one of the most important institutions in the world and we have a lot of work to do,” she said. “I feel ready to go.”

She was expected to meet staffers and speak briefly with non-governmental groups that support a key fisheries reform proposal being discussed at the WTO, before attending her first meeting of the General Council — made up of envoys from the international trade body’s 164 member states.

Some of those meetings with will be limited because of measures to fight COVID-19, and the closed-door General Council meeting is to be largely by videoconference.

On the agenda is also the date and venue for its major ministerial conference which was due to be held in Kazakhstan last year but was delayed due to the pandemic.

Okonjo-Iweala has said she hopes that event will provide a venue for clinching various deals including on cutting fisheries subsidies and reform of the WTO’s top appeals body which was paralysed by former U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration.

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