Nigeria’s former finance minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala’s bid to become the first African and first female director-general of the World Trade Organisation has received a major boost.
This is as 27 European Union member states declared their support for the WTO’s number one seat.
The EU member states are France, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, and Sweden.
This brings the number of countries officially endorsing her to 106 out of the 164 states that comprise the WTO.
The 55-member African Union had earlier officially supported the former World Bank director over her sole remaining opponent, Yoo Myung-hee of South Korea.
Okonjo-Iweala had also won the goodwill of a group of Caribbean and Pacific States as well as others from Asia.
According to AFP news agency, EU members failed to find a consensus around the choice on Monday but the EU representatives reconvened and agreed to back Okonjo-Iweala.
AFP reports that the WTO’s consultation process ends today and the new leader is expected to be named in November but an EU official said the EU will publicly announce its support for the 66-year-old economist today (Tuesday).
The final winner between the two women will replace Brazil’s Roberto Azevedo and former director-general of the 25-year-old trade organisation.