• Sunday, July 14, 2024
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US endorsement brings a blitz of global media spotlight for Okonjo-Iweala

Why celebrating women is a no brainer

The endorsement of Nigeria’s Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala by the Biden administration in the US has brought a blitz of global media spotlight for the former finance minister now poised to become the first woman head of the World trade organization, WTO.

Her candidacy had been firmly opposed by the now disgraced Trump administration which blocked Okonjo -Iweala’s accession to the WTO top job last year despite her being a US citizen, but yesterday the new government in Washington gave her an unqualified endorsement.

The Wall Street Journal headlined its story, “”US backs Nigeria’s ex-finance minister for WTO,” while the Financial Times said, “US backing paves way way for Nigeria’s Okonjo-Iweala to lead WTO.”

In its headline, the New York Times said, “Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala set to become WTO’s first female leader.”

Bloomberg headlined its own story, “US backs Nigerian for WTO, now set for first female chief.”

Reuters followed with its headline which said, “Nigerian woman poised to lead WTO after rival withdraws, Washington offers support.”

It was this nine-sentence statement from the US State department Friday that Okonjo-Iweala catapulted into an unprecedented global media spotlight.

“The United States takes note of today’s decision by the Republic of Korea’s Trade Minister Yoo Myung-hee to withdraw her candidacy for Director General of the World Trade Organization (WTO).

“The Biden-Harris Administration is pleased to express its strong support for the candidacy of Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala as the next Director General of the WTO.

“Dr. Okonjo-Iweala brings a wealth of knowledge in economics and international diplomacy from her 25 years with the World Bank and two terms as Nigerian Finance Minister.

“She is widely respected for her effective leadership and has proven experience managing a large international organization with a diverse membership.

“The Biden-Harris Administration also congratulates Minister Yoo Myung-hee on her strong campaign for this position.

“She is a trailblazer as the Republic of Korea’s first female trade minister and the first candidate from Korea to advance this far in the Director General selection process.

“The United States respects her decision to withdraw her candidacy from the Director General race to help facilitate a consensus decision at the WTO.

“t is particularly important to underscore that two highly qualified women made it to the final round of consideration for the position of WTO Director General — the first time that any woman has made it to this stage in the history of the institution.

“The United States stands ready to engage in the next phase of the WTO process for reaching a consensus decision on the WTO Director General. The Biden-Harris Administration looks forward to working with a new WTO Director General to find paths forward to achieve necessary substantive and procedural reform of the WTO.”