*Denies speculation she wants to run in 2023 presidential election
Just seven months into her 4 1/2-year term, the Director General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has become frustrated with the workings of the organisation and has floated the idea of resigning if no headway can be found on critical issues, Bloomberg reported Thursday.
According to the report, five trade officials at the WTO, who declined to be identified, said that Okonjo-Iweala has repeatedly told ambassadors and staff that she could easily walk away from the job, and reminds them she hasn’t bought any furniture for her temporary home in Geneva.
But in a statement to Bloomberg News on speculation that she wants to run in the 2023 Nigeria’s presidential election, Okonjo-Iweala didn’t comment about her threats to resign but denied any interest in running for the Nigerian presidency, calling such speculation “utterly ridiculous and not true”.
She added: “I just got here. I am enjoying what I’m doing. It is a very exciting job and I am trying to have some success here.”
Dr. Okonjo-Iweala began her tenure with a plan to score quick negotiating victories that she hoped would help reboot the dysfunctional Geneva-based trade body.
Analysts note that her early departure would add yet another layer of chaos to an organisation suffering from an existential crisis that may lead governments to conclude that WTO is not a credible forum for addressing their shared challenges.
Deep divisions and a lack of trust are not new for the WTO, which requires consensus agreement among all 164 members to finalize multilateral accords.
The WTO’s rigid negotiating structure and disparate interests of its diverse membership have precluded the organisation from delivering anything substantial for the better part of the past decade.
Last year, Okonjo-Iweala’s predecessor – Roberto Azevedo – cited the lack of progress at the WTO as his primary reason for resigning from the organisation a year before his tenure was scheduled to end.