International TradeForeign PolicyInternational RelationsThe Global EconomyInternational Development

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala Leads WTO

On March 1, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala started her first day on the job as director-general of the World Trade Organization (WTO). The selection of the 66-year-old Nigerian born economist is historic and significant considering Okonjo-Iweala is the first woman and African to lead the WTO in its history. The WTO’s main function is to govern trade rules between countries and to promote commerce. The incoming director general has a lot on her plate considering global trade declined in 2020 because of the global pandemic.

Instructors, click the link below to download this week’s lecture for use in your classroom. The deck contains a writing prompt and a debate question as well as other assessment questions.

Download the PowerPoint Lecture Spark for “Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala Leads WTO"


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“First Black woman to lead WTO says she will prioritize fair trade, access to Covid-19 vaccines”

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“Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala Believes the WTO Can Change the World. But First It Needs Reform”


  • Writing:  What types of challenges confront the incoming Director-General of the WTO?
  • Debate:  The U.S. and other countries should abandon protectionist policies that are nationalistic in nature in favor of promoting world trade.
  • Poll:  Who benefits from international trade?
  • Short Answer:  Why do some believe that Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala may find it difficult to accomplish her agenda at the WTO?

Current events quiz:

1) All the following are true concerning the goals Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala would like to accomplish EXCEPT:

a. Make the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine widely available to the developing world.
b. Address rising nationalism and protectionist practices that have led to trade disputes.
c. Enforce stricter standards when it comes to minimum wage and workplace safety.
d. Be a bridge for more women especially in developing countries to participate in international trade.

2) Which of the following is a reason why global trade declined in 2020?

a. The global pandemic.
b. The dollar lost value compared to the euro.
c. It was no longer profitable.
d. A lack of raw materials.

3) Which of the following is FALSE concerning Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala?

a. She is a former finance minister.
b. She has a MD.
c. She is a former foreign minister.
d. She worked at the World Bank.

4) The Biden administration opposed Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala from serving as Director-General of the WTO. (T/F)

5) The Director-General of the WTO wields a lot of authority regarding executive powers. (T/F)

6) Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is the first woman and African to serve as Director-General of the WTO. (T/F)


1) C

2) A

3) B

4) False

5) False

6) True


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Featured Image Credit: FranSisPac / World Trade Organization

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