Johnson Smith welcomes new WTO director generalMonday, March 01, 2021
KINGSTON, Jamaica — Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Kamina Johnson Smith, is welcoming Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala as she formally assumes duties as director general of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) today.
Dr Okonjo-Iweala is the first African and the first woman to be appointed in this position.
While indicating that she had written to extend warm congratulations and support to Dr Okonjo-Iweala shortly after her appointment was announced last month, Johnson Smith said, “Jamaica is elated at Dr Okonjo-Iweala's appointment as the first African and first woman to lead the organisation. We are also pleased that WTO Members reached consensus on her appointment as this sends a positive signal of the organisation's ability to achieve consensus at a particularly challenging time in history.”
Johnson Smith added that Dr Okonjo-Iweala has significant experience in multilateral affairs and international development, including her twenty-five years as a Development Economist at the World Bank and, notably, her successful tenure as managing director of the World Bank Group from 2007 to 2011.
Her professional career also includes Chair of the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI) and member of the CARICOM Commission on the Economy.
Johnson Smith further noted that throughout her career, Dr Okonjo-Iweala's work has complemented the development goals of small and vulnerable economies such as Jamaica and other countries in the Caribbean.
“Dr Okonjo-Iweala's skills are critically needed at the WTO, especially at this time when the world faces one of the most challenging periods in history. Dr Okonjo-Iweala is well placed to co-pilot global economic governance to, inter alia, limit the impact that COVID-19-related shocks may pose to the international economy,' she said.
Johnson Smith affirmed that Jamaica will continue to play a constructive role in preserving and strengthening an inclusive, transparent, consensual, rules-based and development-oriented multilateral trading system with the WTO as its core institution.
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