The World Trade Organization on Monday appointed Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala as its new director-general, following a special general council meeting.
"I, as General Council chair, supported by the facilitators, thereby recommend formally that the General Council agree to appoint Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala of Nigeria as the next Director-General of the WTO, starting on 1st of March 2021 until 31st August 2025. It is so agreed."
Her appointment comes three months after the former Trump administration rejected the former Nigerian finance minister.
Being named as the new chief of the WTO, she becomes the first woman and first African director-general of the organization.
In her acceptance speech, she expressed gratitude for having the opportunity to lead the WTO, not because of her gender nor her ethnicity, but for her knowledge and experience in the field.
The 66-year-old also highlighted some key issues that needs to be tackled.
"The pandemic and its economic fallout have highlighted the interdependence of countries, the importance of multilateralism and the need to strengthen collaboration to achieve fair and balanced trade agreements that provide opportunities for all WTO members, particularly for the least developed countries and small island states."
As director-general, the newly appointed WTO chief will need to resolve several issues, including the need to broker international trade talks in the face of U.S.-China tensions, pressure to reform trade rules, and countering protectionism heightened by the pandemic.
She added that getting a trade deal at the next major ministerial meeting would be a "top priority", while urging members to reject vaccine nationalism.
Okonjo-Iweala is a 25-year veteran of the World Bank and oversaw an 81 billion U.S. dollar portfolio.
She ran against seven other candidates, including South Korean trade minister Yoo Myung-hee, to earn her position as the head of the WTO.
Lee Seung-jae, Arirang News.