Paul Nwabuikwu, spokesman for former Nigerian finance minister, Dr Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, has said that the former minister will facilitate industrialisation in Africa and Nigeria.
Nwabuikwu spoke on Monday during a television programme in Abuja.
According to him, the emergence of the former Nigerian Minister of Finance and Economy would mean a greater representation for developing countries including Nigeria.
The WTO last Thursday disclosed that Okonjo-Iweala and Yoo Myung-hee of the Republic of Korea advanced to the final round of consultations which will determine the next WTO DG.
The former finance minister’s spokesperson said Okonjo-Iweala has made tremendous progress in the WTO DG race, noting that the chance of her becoming the next boss of the global trade organisation is “50/50”.
“She started out as Nigeria’s candidate and then she became the West African candidate and from there she became the African candidate,” he said.
“It is very significant that the European Union backed the candidacy of Dr Okonjo-Iweala even over the former British Secretary of State for International Trade, Dr Liam Fox. It gives an idea of how much progress she has made and I think it is something to be happy about.
“The prospect is 50/50 because we have two people left but I suspect that it is even better than that because she got the very support of the European Union. Having got to this point, she has a very good chance of emerging the DG of the World Trade Organisation. But it is not over until it is over.”
Nwabuikwu explained further that she will Okonjo-Iweala will not only promote trade around the world, she would facilitate economic growth in Nigeria and Africa.
“Her emergence in so many ways will be excellent news for Africa and also for the global South,” he said.
“For a long time, third world countries and developing nations have consistently complained that the rules of global trade don’t favour them. Having one of our own up there means at the very list that there will greater attention to the issues that concern us.
““WTO under her leadership will take a look at certain fundamentals and Africa will be encouraged to produce more and also to process more of what it produces.
“We are not going to be like accidental players but we will actually be there because Dr Okonjo-Iweala is very passionate about Africa and the global south.”
Earlier in the week, President Muhammadu Buhari had assured Okonjo-Iweala of Nigeria’s support in her bid for the WTO job.
The president also noted that he would do all within his power to ensure that she became the first woman and first African DG of the global trade organisation.
“I assure you that we will do all that we can to ensure that you emerge as the Director-General of WTO, not only because you are a Nigerian, but because you are a hardworking Nigerian. You deserve this,” the President had said while receiving the former World Bank director at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.