Okonjo-Iweala makes African fashion statement on Day One at WTO [Photos]

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala with officials of WTO
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala at the entrance of the WTO office, with the paparazzi

By Abankula

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala reported for her historic duty at the Geneva office of the World Trade Organisation on Monday with trademark fashion statement: decked in African wax fabric.

Pictures posted online showed the first African woman to head the WTO, arriving the office in a three-piece ankara ensemble.

She was received by officials of the organisation.

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala arrives Geneva office of WTO today
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala stepping up to the WTO office
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala with officials of WTO

She already indicated some of her priorities, saying she would back efforts among member countries to agree on fisheries subsidies that could reduce overfishing.

“I am coming into one of the most important institutions in the world and we have a lot of work to do,” she said, adding “I feel ready to go.”

The two-time former Nigerian finance minister started work, with a distractive controversy generated by a Dutch newspaper, which had derogatorily referred to her as the ‘grandmother new chief of WTO’.

The paper was heavily criticised for the sexism and racism by UN Women Leaders and the 124 Ambassadors in Geneva.

The paper was forced to apologise.

Okonjo-Iweala tweeted the apology on Monday and thanked all the people who had petitioned the paper.

“I’m thankful to all my sisters, UN Women Leaders and the 124 Ambassadors in Geneva who signed the petition on calling out the racist & sexist remarks in this newspaper. It is important & timely that they’ve apologized”, she wrote.

‘We need to call out this behavior when it happens. This is precisely what my book Women & Leadership coauthored with @JuliaGillard talks about – the stereotypes women face when they take on leadership positions’, she added.


  1. Junkyard Journalism. The Dutch Newspaper can print anything they want but you are still the boss and no one can take that away from you. I’m sure that if it’s a white woman as Head of the WTO, the Tabloid Dutch Newspaper will not use those words. Nigerians are proud of Okojo-Iweala.

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