Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa, President of the Republic of South Africa and Chairperson of the African Union, has congratulated Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on her advancement to the third and final stage of the selection process for the position of the Director-General (DG) of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), saying that the Nigerian was the right person for the job as she is capable of repositioning the WTO.
Dr. Okonjo-Iweala is the first African woman to stand for election and reach the final stage of selection for the WTO DG post.
President Ramaphosa stated: “Dr. Okonjo-Iweala is a highly distinguished African, who has excelled in various public offices, in her native Nigeria, including responsibilities in the AU, and in numerous international assignments.
“At a time when international organisations need to be repurposed, Dr. Okonjo-Iweala is the right person to reposition the WTO in order to be an effective instrument for facilitating a fair, just, equitable and rules-based trading system. I have no doubt that she has the credentials and capability to restore order in an otherwise turbulent multilateral trading system.”
President Ramaphosa encourages all Member States of the African Union to rally behind Dr. Okonjo-Iweala during the final round of nominations, which will see for the first time in the history of the WTO, the appointment of a female Director-General and most likely and preferably, one coming from the African continent.
In this regard, President Ramaphosa has expressed his optimism that other regions and countries will also unite and support the African candidate, whose leadership of the WTO will assist in the full integration of the continent as an important player in the global multilateral trading system, particularly at the time when the Continent is working on operationalising the biggest free trade area in the world, the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
President Ramaphosa also expressed pride in the high calibre of candidates from the continent, including Mr. Abdel Hamid Mamdouh of Egypt and Ms. Amina Mohamed of Kenya, whom he thanked for availing themselves for the WTO DG selection process.
The President concluded by urging the continent to rally behind Dr. Okonjo-Iweala, by sparing no effort in ensuring that she makes history by being elected as the first African to be at the helm of the WTO.