Nigeria: Okonjo-Iweala frustrated, Mulls quits WTO
Just seven months into his four-year tenure as Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO), reports indicate growing frustration on the part of Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala with the organization and considered resigning if no progress can be found on critical issues.
According to Bloomberg, five trade officials, who declined to be identified, said Okonjo-Iweala fully grasped the frustrating reality of the WTO’s historic inertia and considered stepping down.
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the leader of the World Trade Organization, started the year with a plan to achieve quick wins in the negotiations that she said would help revive the dysfunctional Geneva-based trade body.
The report notes that this year, Okonjo-Iweala has repeatedly told ambassadors and staff that she could easily leave her post, and reminds them that she has not purchased any furniture for her temporary home in Geneva, said. the responsibles.
An early departure of the top trade official from the WTO would add yet another layer of chaos to an organization suffering from an existential crisis that could lead governments to conclude that the WTO is not a credible forum to meet their challenges common.
Deep divisions and lack of confidence are not new to the WTO, which requires consensus among 164 members to finalize multilateral agreements.
The rigid negotiating structure of the WTO and the disparate interests of its various members have kept the organization from delivering anything substantive for much of the past decade.
Last year, Okonjo-Iweala’s predecessor, Roberto Azevedo, cited the lack of progress at the WTO as the main reason for his resignation from the organization a year before the expected end of his term.
Some Geneva business officials have told Bloomberg News they suspect Okonjo-Iweala of wanting to run in the 2023 presidential election in his native Nigeria.
Okonjo-Iweala did not comment on his threats to resign, but denied any interest in running for the Nigerian presidency, calling the speculation “totally ridiculous and false” in a statement to Bloomberg News.
“I just arrived. I enjoy what I’m doing,” she told Bloomberg News in a TV interview. “It’s a very exciting job and I’m trying to have some success here.”
“The idea that Dr Ngozi resigns sooner would be anathema to the business community,” International Chamber of Commerce secretary general John Denton said in an interview. “We have supported its forward-looking program, we want it to engage and maintain it.
“We see no reason why she would even consider terminating her tenure and frankly – she made it clear to us that she was not.”