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Africa is losing out on WTO leadership

The United States is opposed to Ngozi  taking the helm as the WTO DG casting doubt on whether she can obtain the necessary full backing from member states. In a statement critical of the WTO, the Office of the US Trade Representative, said that the organization “must be led by someone with real, hands-on experience in the field”.

03 Nov 2020    

WHY DID AMERICA VETO NGOZI?

It is reported that some people in Washington are skeptical about her loyalty to America.  As citizen who has ganged up with the European Union and China to ensure that America loses its rightful position of Deputy Director of the Organization, she is poised to frustrate the participation of America in the WTO. 

Her corrupt practices in the past have also come into play. In 2007, she was ordered by the Federal Appeal Court in Abuja to refund an ILLEGAL  dollar salary that she was paid when she was hired from the World Bank to be appointed Finance Minister. In May 2016 the Federal High Court in Lagos ordered her to account for N30 trillion which was some of the accruable income to the Federal Government during the last four years of the administration of former President Goodluck Johnathan.

Serious Human rights violations in Africa

With the Serious Human rights violations are ongoing in Nigeria, and her links to the divisive and repugnant Biafranization of Nigeria that  badly scared many Nigerians cannot be forgotten. MERCURY, the PR Lobbyist firm that is leading her campaign was heavily involved in the planning and execution of this project.

The United States decision is therefore right. How can a person with serious corruption allegations and integrity issues be considered to lead the WTO to reform and making the multilateral trading system work? 

WHAT IS AT STAKE FOR AFRICA AND THE UNITED STATES?

The procedures for the appointment of a director general adopted by the WTO General Council in December 2002 (Document WT/L/509 of January 20, 2003) provide that “Nominations shall be submitted by Members only, and in respect of their own nationals” (Procedures, paragraph 8). Accordingly, nationality/citizenship is important at the point of nomination. 

Ngozi, lied about her nationality in her application and masqueraded as an African only for Bloomberg to uncover her deceitful ways. While taking up the American Nationality, she swore this oath that she “absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty, of whom or which [she had] heretofore been a subject or citizen; that [she would] support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America. 

The Egyptian Hamid on the other hand was honest about his nationality and declared his dual citizenship. So ideally, the only African country that was in the race was Kenya. Europe ganged up on to deny Africa a chance at the WTO leadership by blocking Kenya’s advance to the final round. 

With Ngozi’s leadership, America and Africa would lose out on the leadership of the WTO. 

EUROPE PUNISHING AFRICA

Why the EU May Have Subverted the DG Selection Process

A European expert on EU external relations and a policy adviser at the highest levels on EU issues, has suggested that " the EU is punishing Africa for being recalcitrant in relation to the Economic Partnership Agreements that Europe has been trying to conclude on the continent. The individual in question said that one cannot underestimate the fury in Brussels as a result of African states not wanting to go along with these initiatives. Another angle the expert mentioned was that the EPAs were a pet project of Pascal Lamy when he was Director-General Trade, and that he had a lot of credibility invested in them. In sum: the revenge of a scorned suitor. How awful if it really did come down to this."

AFRICA MUST WAKE UP

America smelt the coffee before it was late, Africa must also wake up! The mantra that the organization is member driven is plain lip service that can only be likened to the thinking of the colonizers of yester years.

Remember the African Union Ambassador who lost her job for speaking out against Africa’s colonization?  Dr. Arikana Chihombori-Quao, a former  African Union’s ambassador to the United States, lost her job for speaking out against   a colonial tax on Africa that nets France about $500 billion each year. “It goes back to the Berlin Conference,” she said. The Berlin Conference ignited what became known as the “Scramble for Africa” between European powers like France, Great Britain, Italy, Portugal, Denmark and others.

WTO SELECTION PROCESS IS DIRTY AND CORRUPT

The US ambassador in Geneva complained that the 

selection process is flawed and most Ambassadors agree with that statement.  Some European Countries actually protested of the blackmail and intimidation by the European Commission which is the Foreign Minister of Hungary, Peter Szijjarto in an interview with Hungary Matters mentioned that consensus is usually achieved through talks rather than threats and blackmail. He said the Commission had threatened to launch infringement procedures against member states that “ had a different opinion" 

Imagine a WTO led by individuals who able to blackmail countries like Hungary? 

WTO reforms

The reform of the WTO should start with the transparency of the selection process.  Members must have a DG who has been agreed on by all!  International organisations are driven by the notion of equality of members regardless of population size, economic power, political and military capabilities. The reality of one country, one vote must not only be said but must also be seen to work at the WTO just like in the United Nations.

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