Nigeria's Okonjo-Iweala to make history at WTO

A double first for the World Trade Organisation.

Former Nigerian finance minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is set to become the first woman and first African director-general.

A self-declared "doer", Okonjo-Iweala will have her work cut out.

And that's even with Donald Trump, who had threatened to pull the United States out of the organisation, no longer in the White House.

Okonjo-Iweala will need to broker international trade talks in the face of persistent U.S.-China tension.

And also respond to pressure to reform trade rules.

As well as counter protectionism heightened by the global health crisis.

Okonjo-Iweala is a 25-year veteran of the World Bank, where she oversaw an $81 billion portfolio.

Known for her strong belief in trade's ability to lift people out of poverty, her endorsement from the Biden administration cleared the last obstacle to her appointment.

High on the to-do list will also be fisheries subsidies, the subject of the WTO's main talks that missed a deadline at the end of last year.

Okonjo-Iweala becomes one of the few female heads of a major multilateral body.

Critics say she lacks direct trade experience, but supporters point to a reputation for hard work and a track record leading reforms in Nigeria.

She's expected to take her place at the WTO's Geneva headquarters within weeks.