The new Director General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has charged members of the organisation to do things differently to deliver results
Speaking after assuming office on March 1 at the WTO headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, the Nigerian former Minister of Finance and first black and female head of WTO also said it would no longer be business as usual.
Dr Okonjo-Iweala is the seventh Director-General of WTO. She took office on March 1, 2021, becoming the first woman and the first African to serve as director-general. Her term of office will expire on 31 August 2025.
“I have noticed that more and more of the work and decision making that should be undertaken at the WTO is being done elsewhere because there is an increasing loss of confidence in the ability of the WTO to produce results. But there is hope.
“If we all accept that we can no longer do business as usual, that will help us create the parameters for success,” Okonjo-Iweala said in her maiden address obtained from the organisation.
She therefore called on trade ministers from the about 160 member countries and other stakeholders to reconcile and work towards taking meaningful trade decisions.
“High expectations of my leadership also mean that I have high expectations of you to help me deliver.
I have said it. It cannot be business as usual. We have to change our approach from debate and rounds of questions to delivering results.”
Part of her task is to reform the administration as she said, “there are excellent people in the capitals doing good work. We have talented staff in the secretariat. But the world is no longer cognizant of this, does not recognize the effort because we are not delivering results at the pace required by our fast-changing environment.”