The World Trade Organization is an intergovernmental organization that is concerned with the regulation of international trade between nations. It was founded on the 1st of January, 1995 and has 165 members.

The WTO was born out of negotiations, and everything the WTO does is the result of negotiations. The bulk of the WTO’s current work comes from the 1986–94 negotiations called the Uruguay Round and earlier negotiations under the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). The WTO is currently the host to new negotiations, under the ‘Doha Development Agenda’ launched in 2001.

Some of its duties include;
–  It is an organization for trade opening.

– It is a forum for governments to negotiate trade agreements.

– It is a place for them to settle trade disputes.

– It operates a system of trade rules. Essentially, the WTO is a place where member governments try to sort out the trade problems they face with each other.

Nigeria has been a WTO member since 1 January 1995 and  a member of GATT since 18 November 1960. Nigeria, on 9 June 2020, nominated Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala for the post of WTO Director-General to succeed the current Director-General, Mr Roberto Azevêdo, who has announced he stepped down on 31 August 2020.

The nomination period for the 2020 DG selection process ended on 8 July, with eight candidates nominated by their respective governments. On 31 July, the General Council agreed that there would be three stages of consultations with WTO members commencing on 7 September to assess their preferences and to determine which candidate is best placed to attract consensus support.

The General Council Chair announced on 18 September the results of the first round of consultations and the five candidates advancing to the next stage. On 8 October, he announced the results of the second round of consultations and the two candidates advancing to the third round.

Nigeria’s Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is slated to be the first woman & African to lead the institution. However, the US has has refused to support her candidacy. Final outcome will now be decided Nov 9!