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WTO: Nigeria, Africa happy with US endorsement of Okonjo-Iweala – Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari on Saturday said Nigeria and Africa are happy with the US endorsement of ex-Finance Minister, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala for the Director-General of the World Trade Organisation.

The United States, under the administration of ex-President Donald Trump, had objected to Okonjo-Iweala’s candidacy for the WTO top job.

Instead, Trump had preferred South Korea’s Trade Minister Yoo Myung-hee, saying she got the requisite experience to lead the organisation.

However, the US made a U-turn by backing the ex-Vice President of the World Bank, thus paving the way for her to be the first woman and African to emerge as the WTO boss.

President Buhari said he welcomed the pronouncement of the Office of the United States Trade Representative, signifying withdrawal of the country’s objection to Okonjo-Iweala’s emergence as WTO DG.

“Nigeria and the entire African continent are happy about this new U.S position, which signifies a shift and an important turnaround in the relations between our continent and the United States under the Biden administration,” Buhari was quoted as saying in a statement issued by his spokesman, Garba Shehu.

“We certainly welcome the decision of the new U.S administration to remove the last obstacle in the path of Dr. Okonjo-Iweala to becoming the first female and the first person of African descent to lead the organization.

“Today, we see that the United States stands with Nigeria and Africa with the acceptance of our widely respected citizen, Okonjo-Iweala to lead the WTO. We look forward to working very closely with the new U.S administration on this and all issues of common interests, especially in such areas as accelerated economic growth, fight against terrorism and deepening progress on development issues.”