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Okonjo-Iweala not appointed WTO director general, but on final shortlist of two

Nigeria’s Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, a prominent economist and international development expert, has been appointed director general of the World Trade Organization, claims a message circulating on Facebook since 8 October 2020.

“Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has been appointed as the new director general of World Trade Organization (WTO),” it reads. “Shattering a glass ceiling; she is the first female leader of this organization. Congratulations ma'am.”

Is Okonjo-Iweala the new WTO director general? We checked.

One of two on final shortlist

In May Roberto Azevêdo announced he would step down as WTO director general on 31 August, a year before his mandate was due to expire. The process to appoint a new director general began on 8 June.

A month later, on 8 July, the WTO announced eight shortlisted candidates nominated by their governments. These were then whittled down to two, both women: Okonjo-Iweala of Nigeria and Yoo Myung-hee, South Korea’s minister for trade.

Okonjo-Iweala is currently one of two candidates for the director general position. She may be appointed, but at the time of writing was still a nominee.

A final round of consultations to determine Azevêdo’s successor will run from 19 to 28 October, after which the appointment will be announced. – Dancan Bwire


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