Nigerian-American economist and international development expert Ngozi Okonjo Iweala has been appointed as the head the WTO (World Trade Organization). Okonjo Iweala has become the first woman to take this position. Okonjo Iweala has also become the first African to hold this charge amid rising protectionism.

Points To Note

  • She was named as the director-general by the representatives of the 164 member countries of World Trade Organization.
  • World Trade Organization dealing with the rules of trade between the countries on the basis of negotiated agreements.
  • The appointment of the African women came after the USA President Joe Biden approved her candidacy.
  • The appointment will come into effect on 1st March 2021.


  • The former President, Trump had blocked the candidacy earlier.
  • USA had also blocked the appointment of any new judges to the WTO’s appellate body.
  • It had frozen the WTO’s ability to resolve the extended and complex trade disputes.

Why USA blocked the appointment?

The government of The United States of America had blocked the appointment by arguing that the WTO is slow-moving and bureaucratic. The US government also highlighted that it is ill-equipped to handle the problems posed by the state-dominated economy of China.

World Trade Organization

The intergovernmental organization deals with the regulation of international trade between the countries. It was established in January by 1995 in accordance with the Marrakesh Agreement.

About Marrakesh Agreement

The Marrakesh Agreement was signed after the Marrakesh Declaration April 1994. It was signed in Marrakesh, Kingdom of Morocco. The Marrakesh agreement was signed by 123 countries on 15 April 1994. The Agreement had replaced the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade. The Marrakesh agreement is supplemented by agreements on issues like sanitary and phytosanitary measures, trade in services, intellectual property rights etc.

Ngozi Okonjo Iweala 1st Woman to lead WTO Ngozi Okonjo Iweala 1st Woman to lead WTO