First female Vice President in U.S. Kamala Harris and first female WTO head Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala discuss COVID-19, trade, economy and climate change

The first female Vice President of the United States Kamala D. Harris on Thursday spoke with the first female head of the World Trade Organization Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and both discussed a range of issues, including trade, the economy, the coronavirus pandemic and climate change, the White House said.

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala takes over as new WTO Director-General, 1 March 2021. Photo: WTO/Bryan Lehmann 
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala takes over as new WTO Director-General, 1 March 2021. Photo: WTO/Bryan Lehmann

“Vice President Kamala Harris spoke today with Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Director-General of the World Trade Organization. The Vice President congratulated the Director-General and offered her strong support as the global community works toward recovery from the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic,” the White House said. “They committed to work together to address the economic and health consequences of COVID-19 and climate change, and to prioritize resilience in the global supply chain.”

The White House added that the Vice President and the Director-General agreed on the importance of using trade to promote equity and economic growth.

“They discussed how improved living standards, labor rights, human rights, and the well-being of working families must be at the center of our shared priorities to use trade as a lever to lift communities out of poverty. They also discussed the need for reforms within the World Trade Organization to maximize its effectiveness for the future,” the White House said.

It added that the Vice President highlighted the priority of the United States to invest in health and technology as engines for growth and to advance sustainable development. 

“The Vice President and the Director-General committed to work closely together to accelerate momentum in the global economy for the benefit of all.”

Chief White House Correspondent for

Simon Ateba is Chief White House Correspondent for Today News Africa. Simon covers President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, the U.S. government, the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other financial and international institutions in Washington D.C. and New York City.

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