WTO: Europe Reiterates Support For Okonjo-Iweala

– Buhari, EC President In Video Conference Over Ex-Minister’s Bid, Others

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Europe remains committed to its support for Nigeria’s former Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, to emerge as the new Director-General of the World Trade Organisation.

President of the European Council, Mr Charles Michel, re-stated this during a video conference with President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday, according to the State House.

“The President is leading Nigeria’s charge for Okonjo-Iweala, the country’s former Minister of Finance, to emerge as the first Black and female WTO DG”, the Presidency said.

Buhari, during the conference, praised the European Council for filing behind Nigeria and its candidate in the race to the global position.

Recall that the European Union too had since backed Okonjo-Iweala.

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The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, wrote, “Also discussed during the conference were issues bordering on debt relief for Africa, EU-African relations and recharge of the Lake Chad, which has currently shrunk to less than one-third of its usual size, and throwing about 130 million people who depend on the Lake into dire straits.

“Recharge of the Lake Chad is an issue the Nigerian President had vigorously canvassed at diverse global fora in recent time.

“President Buhari expressed appreciation to Mr Michel for expected positive developments on the issues.”

Okonjo-Iweala is said to have received the backing of the majority of 104 countries already and is placed well ahead of her South Korean rival, Yoo Myung-hee, to clinch the seat.

If that happens, it will be the first time a woman and an African will be on the seat in the last 25 years.

Her only setback for now, is the refusal of the United Stated to back Okonjo-Iweala’s candidacy.

However, final decisions on the basis of consensus are expected to be reached on November 9 when the General Council of the WTO meets to pick the next DG.

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