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WTO: Okonjo-Iweala, others know fate next week

•Fitch revises Nigeria’s outlook from negative to stable

The remaining five candidates in the race for the job of Director- General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) will know their fate next week. This is as Fitch Ratings yesterday revised the outlook on Nigeria’s long-term foreign-currency Issuer Default Rating to stable from negative.

However, the five WTO candidates will be whittled down again, to two in the second round of elimination Nigeria’s Ngozi Okonjo- Iweala, Kenya’s Amina Mohamed, Britain’s Liam Fox, Saudi Arabia’s Mohammed Al-Tuwaijri, and South Korea’s Yoo Myung-hee are, however, still in the race.

While expectations are high for Africa to finally get a shot at running the organisation which has counted three Director-Generals from Europe, and one each from Oceania, Asia, and South America since its creation in 1995; there is however no requirement for a regional rotation of the Director General’s position It remains unclear whether the WTO members will ultimately settle for another European leader.

Meanwhile, the international rating firm disclosed this in its report where it affirmed the IDR at ‘B’. Entitled ‘Fitch revises Nigeria’s outlook to stable, affirms at ‘B’, the revision of the outlook reflected a decrease in the level of uncertainty surrounding the impact of the global pandemic shock on the Nigerian economy, it said. Part of the report read, “Oil prices have stabilised, global funding conditions have eased and domestic restrictions on movement have started to be relaxed.

“Nigeria has navigated external liquidity pressures from the shock through partial exchange rate adjustment combined with de facto capital flow management measures and foreigncurrency restrictions, while disbursement of external official loans has supported the level of international reserves. “While external vulnerability persists from currency overvaluation and a possibly large FC demand backlog, this is adequately captured by the ‘B’ rating, in our view.”




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