Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala Set to Become W.T.O.’s First Female Leader
Her path was cleared after Yoo Myung-hee, the South Korean trade minister, announced she was withdrawing from consideration to head the World Trade Organization.
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, an economist and former finance minister of Nigeria, appears set to become the next director general of the World Trade Organization, with the Biden administration announcing its “strong support” for her candidacy on Friday. She would be the first woman and the first African national to lead the organization.
Yoo Myung-hee, the South Korean trade minister who was also a finalist for the role, said on Friday that she planned to withdraw herself from consideration, leaving the path open for Dr. Okonjo-Iweala, The Associated Press reported.
The two women were announced as finalists for the trade organization’s top job in October, whittled down from a group of eight candidates over several months, with Dr. Okonjo-Iweala emerging as the person with the broadest support, the W.T.O. said at the time.
But because the organization, a trade-regulation body that has existed in its current form since 1995, requires that none of its 164 members oppose the choice, President Donald J. Trump, who supported Ms. Yoo and said he would not back the candidacy of Dr. Okonjo-Iweala, was able to hold up the process, according to the W.T.O. statement.