Analyses & Studies

Africa Practice: First African to lead the WTO is a woman

Former Nigerian Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala will be the new head of WTO.

'Since last year, the WTO had been in a deadlock not only over its appellate court system, but its leader. This was resolved four days ago with the announcement that former Nigerian Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala will be the new head of the institution. Known for her reformist stance and credentials, the accomplished development economist is poised to “rock the place,” in the words of European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde. She is also expected to bring a stronger Africa focus to the WTO’s agenda.

Okonjo-Iweala spent 25 years at the World Bank, focusing on least developed countries. As minister in Nigeria across two administrations, she spearheaded bold action, culminating in a USD 18 billion debt write-off in 2005. Today, the new WTO head also chairs the board of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. Her remarkable professional achievements are complemented by a widely perceived down-to-earth attitude – a strategic victory not only for the continent, but for diversity in leadership on a global scale.'

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About Africa Practice

Africa Practice is a strategic advisory firm, operating at the nexus of industry and government. We supply insights and advocacy solutions to corporations, investors, governments and foundations in Africa, enabling them to see more clearly, engage with confidence and unlock value to drive sustainable and equitable development.

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