Gordon Brown, former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom endorses Ngozi Okonjo Iweala for WTO Director-General

The Rt Hon Gordon Brown

Former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom

Ngozi has twice been the very successful finance and economic minister of Nigeria. She has been the much acclaimed Managing Director of the World Bank. She is a brilliant negotiator, as I found when I worked with her to secure debt relief in Africa. She has chaired a number of very high profile global organisations, including most recently The Global Alliance for Vaccination and Immunization (Gavi), supporting a top Gavi team in securing its $8.8 billion replenishment by her skills of persuasion and advocacy. She has written on corruption, and how she has stood up to corruption and bad practises at all times.

Most of all she is respected not only in her home continent, but across the whole of the world.

As Finance Minister she was in charge of customs, and her work at the World Bank included issues of trade and international relations.

Ngozi can be relied on to successfully apply her skills as an economist, public policy maker, negotiator and convener to the toughest of jobs in the world – and, if chosen, will make an outstanding success of running a great global institution of the status of the WTO.

julia gillard

The Hon Julia Gillard AC

27th Prime Minister of Australia

I have known Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala since 2012 and have had the privilege of working closely with her. She is one of those rare leaders who combines a depth of technical knowledge with strategic insight and exceptional inter-personal skills. Hardworking, scrupulously honest and rigorous about achieving outcomes, she is the sort of person who always delivers exemplary results.

Key to Ngozi’s leadership style is the way she respectfully listens to the voices of others and thoughtfully responds. She is also an exceptional negotiator who can bridge differences. All this means that Ngozi has the capacity to deliver and implement action plans that are broadly and deeply supported.

I am pleased and proud to unreservedly recommend Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, who is a person of strength, warmth, moral courage and intellect.

Paul Polman

Former CEO of Uniler and philanthropist

The WTO needs a credible, reform-minded leader like Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

The Covid-19 crisis continues to raise more questions than answers, but there is one thing of which we can be certain: the need for global cooperation has never been greater. No nation can solve this crisis on its own. The development and distribution of a vaccine will require the input and participation of nations from all corners of the world. Yet, just when we need it most, multilateralism is failing us. In this time of crisis, international organisations like the WTO can discover a renewed purpose. But to do so they need credible, reform-focused leadership. For that, there is only one viable candidate for the position of Director General: Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.

ellen johnson sirleaf photo

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

24th President of Liberia

Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has been an enriching thread in both my professional and political life. While she is a junior sister in the African tradition, given the age gap, she has been able to offer me some information at some critical points, which impacted my own decisions making for the better.

As President of Liberia, when I was negotiating a $4.7 billion debt relief for Liberia and the country’s entry into the World Trade Organization, I followed the path and example of Ngozi as one of those rare people who have both a keen intellect and an ability to translate that intellect into practical winning solutions.

In all my many interactions with Ngozi, she showed an ability to receive large amounts of information and distil them into coherent and concise piece. She is also able to listen to many view points and help find common ground in very difficult negotiations.

Ngozi has an illustrious background which is well known globally. I will only emphasize three aspects; her courage in steering the complex financial reform in Nigeria, her home country; her experience in international development, her leadership in multilateral institutions, and her work in promoting the private sector.

These and her commitment to the uplifting of others and to finding solutions to complex global problems are some of the many reasons that I wish to offer my own voice and personal support for her candidacy to head the World Trade Organization.

At this point in time, I can think of no one better.

Cyril Ramaphosa

President of South Africa and Chair of the African Union

“Dr. Okonjo-Iweala is a highly distinguished African, who has excelled in various public offices, in her native Nigeria, including responsibilities in the AU, and in numerous international assignments.

“At a time when international organisations need to be repurposed, Dr. Okonjo-Iweala is the right person to reposition the WTO in order to be an effective instrument for facilitating a fair, just, equitable and rules-based trading system. I have no doubt that she has the credentials and capability to restore order in an otherwise turbulent multilateral trading system.”

Helen Clark

Former Prime Minister of New Zealand

The world needs a functioning multilateral trade organisation. The World Trade Organization needs new Director-General with leadership skills to bring diverse nations together to resolve obstacles to completing a trade round and reform the organization. Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala’s leadership skills are badly needed there.