STEPHEN ENOCH – As Ngozi Okonjo Iwela takes on a new leadership position as the Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO), it ultimately means the global finance expert, who is an economist and international development professional with over 30 years of experience working in Asia, Africa, Europe, Latin America, and North America would be amassed with the responsibility of overseeing the entity in charge of setting rules of trade between nations of the world.
The WTO, an organization established in January 1995, with its headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, is run by its member governments, and all major decisions are made by the membership as a whole, either by ministers who usually meet at least once every two years or by their ambassadors or delegates who meet regularly in Geneva.
The WTO’s global system lowers trade barriers through negotiation and applies the principle of non-discrimination, which results in a reduction in costs of production and subscription relates to a reduction in prices of finished goods and services, and ultimately a lower cost of living.
Since its inception in 1995, over 100 disputes have been brought to the organization and if there were no means of tackling these disputes constructively and harmoniously, some could have led to more serious political conflict amongst counties.
The fact that disputes being brought to the entity are based on WTO agreements, means that there is a clear basis for judging who is right or wrong. Once the judgment has been made, the agreements provide
the focus for any further actions that need to be The WTO cannot claim to make all countries equal.
The global trade body however does reduce some inequalities, giving smaller countries more voice, and at the same time freeing the major powers from the complexity of having to negotiate trade agreements with each of their numerous trading partners.
The WTO’s creation marked the biggest reform of international trade since the end of the second world war which lasted from 1939 – 1945. According to its website, the WTO is an international organization whose primary purpose is to open trade for the benefit of all. It has 164 members, which are involved in 98 percent of world trade.
As the former Nigerian Finance Minister is set to make history as the head of the global trade body after her confirmation on Monday, becoming the first woman and the first African to lead the global trade body, she would be responsible for supervising and directing the organization’s administrative operations. The WTO has 623 secretarial staff, with a budget of 197 million Swiss francs (84.2 Billion Naira) for 2020. Her term starts on the 1st of March 2021.