US News Okonjo-Iweala wants to bring a breath of fresh air into the WTO

13:11  15 february  2021
13:11  15 february  2021 Source:   homify.de

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Wherever the renowned development economist Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala (66) appears, she cuts an impressive figure.

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala: «Wenn wir die WTO nicht hätten, müssten wir sie erfinden.» © Martial Trezzini / KEYSTONE / dpa Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala: "If we didn't have the WTO, we would have to invent it."

The Nigerian woman has kept her style among suit and costume wearers despite decades in the USA: She wears very brightly colored dresses, with large patterns, almost always with a boldly tied headscarf. She once opted for traditional Nigerian clothing when things had to be quick when she brought her four children to school in the morning, she told the BBC in 2012. She stuck to it, and it pays off: she pays the equivalent of 25 euros per outfit, she said at the time.

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In the World Trade Organization (WTO), which it is soon to lead, people in suits predominate. Director General Roberto Azevêdo, who left the organization last summer, was the ninth man in a row since 1948 at the helm of the WTO and its predecessor, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). The four deputies who have headed the WTO since Azevêdo's departure are also men.

"I want to revitalize the organization," said Okonjo-Iweala when applying for the post. Although she is not only interested in a better women's presence. The WTO urgently needs a breath of fresh air. It has long been paralyzed by trench warfare between countries in the South and North and by the blockade of the US government under Donald Trump. “I'm a doer,” promised Okonjo-Iweala. "Trade is important for prosperity, resilience and sustainable growth, and the WTO is central to that," she said. "If we didn't have the WTO, we would have to invent it."

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The straightforward style that she shows through her clothes could also be her work motto: sleeves up and tackle. For example, she was number two at the World Bank in Washington, where she launched short-term programs for the poorest countries during the 2009 financial crisis. She got into the ring against corruption in Nigeria as finance minister. When her own mother was kidnapped to force her to resign, she did not flinch. The mother was released.

Okonjo-Iweala was most recently chairman of the Gavi vaccination alliance, which is currently coordinating the vaccination program against the coronavirus. She was previously at the World Bank for 25 years, and in between two times Finance Minister in her home country and briefly Foreign Minister. The professor's daughter has been named among the 100 most influential people in the world several times in the past ten years by the magazines “Time”, “Forbes” and others. She studied economics and development economics at the elite universities of Harvard and MIT in the USA, where she received her doctorate.

Okonjo-Iweala is very popular in Nigeria. She is considered one of the most successful members of the government since she negotiated a $ 30 billion debt relief with rich countries in 2005. She is also considered to be the architect of better management of oil revenues, the largest chunk of government budget finance.

Okonjo-Iweala is married to a neurosurgeon and has both Nigerian and American citizenship.

fact check: FFP2 masks in the open air - useful or nonsensical? .
© Kira Hofmann / dpa-Zentralbild / dpa Experts agree: The risk of corona infection is much higher indoors than in the fresh air. Some people wear a mask outside as a precaution against the coronavirus. What is mandatory in shops and public transport is noticeable in parks and in the forest. Does it still make sense? When the sun shines and the temperatures climb, people are driven out of the house.

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This is interesting!