Who Is Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala?

March 19, 2021
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala
World Trade Organization, CC BY-SA 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Ever think about how one country trades with another? It’s more than a simple handshake, that’s for sure! When it comes to trades among the many countries in the world, there are policies, tariffs, and all sorts of politics that are involved. That’s why there’s an intergovernmental organization called the World Trade Organization (WTO). It’s an organization made up of members from around the world and its purpose is to support trade between countries. Because trade isn’t a simple transaction like it would be if you were to trade your Pokémon card for your friend’s baseball card, for example, the WTO plays a significant role in setting trade rules and enforcing them. Are the trades fair and legal? Are the tariffs imposed on a country fair and legal? What are the global rules for trading goods? It’s an important organization with a big job and one that needs a strong leader to head the efforts. That’s why Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala was recently chosen to lead the WTO. She’s an economist who worked at the World Bank for twenty-five years and then served as Nigeria’s finance minister. A lot of experience? Absolutely! But what makes her appointment unique is that she’s the first African and first woman to lead the WTO in its twenty-six year history. With the pandemic causing havoc around the world, Okonjo-Iweala has a lot of work ahead of her, but it looks like she’s more than ready for the challenge and believes that working together to build a stronger WTO is the answer to the world’s economic recovery. Congratulations, Ngozi! We’re rooting for you!