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RACE FOR WTO DG: Nigerian govt lobbies for Iran’s vote during elections

As the race for the exalted World Trade Organisation’s (WTO) Director-General role hots-up, the Federal Government of Nigeria has moved to lobby for the vote of the Republic of Iran for its candidate, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.

The move was made on Thursday by the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Richard Adebayo who received the Iranian Ambassador to Nigeria, Mohammed Alibak, who paid him a courtesy visit in Abuja.

Adebayo told Alibak during the visit that Okonjo-Iweala’s election as the DG of the WTO will in turn strengthen global trade and economies for good.

The Minister stated that Nigeria would rely on Iran’s support for the election of Okonjo-Iwela as the next DG for WTO, stressing that if elected it would be the first time an African will occupy the position since its establishment on 1st January 1995.

He said; “The Bilateral Trade Agreements (BTA) earlier signed between the two countries in 2001, the Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (IPPA) in 2008, the establishment of the Nigeria-Iran Joint Commission in 2004, and the Iran Chamber, Industry, Mines, and Agriculture in 2016 should be sustained.

READ ALSO: Okonjo-Iweala meets WTO council members as selection process for DG reaches phase two

“Nigeria will work with Iran to improve on the current low trade volumes as both countries have great potential that can leverage on considering the fact that the two countries are oil-dependent economies,” the Minister added.

Speaking further Adebayo said; “We can also share knowledge and best practices on economic diversification and our national development goals as Buhari’s led Administration is pushing to diversify the economy into the non-oil sector through various initiatives and a strategic partnership in the industrialization of key sectors that can boost efforts towards export of Iran and Nigeria.”

The two Africans left in the race for the role of the WTO DG are Nigeria’s Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and Kenya’s Amina Mohamed who will both proceed to the second selection round with South Korea, the UK and Saudi Arabia.

According to reports, the new leader is expected to take office in November with reports suggesting that there was a growing feeling among African diplomats that someone from the continent should be at the helm of one of the world’s top economic institution.

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