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Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

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Nigeria's Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala poses for a picture at her home in Potomac, Maryland. Photo: Eric Baradat/Getty Images

The World Trade Organization announced Monday that Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, a Nigerian economist and former finance minister, has been selected as the global trade body's next director-general.

Why it matters: Okonjo-Iweala was named to the position by representatives from the WTO's 164 member countries, becoming the first woman and first African to take the helm.

  • The Biden administration endorsed her candidacy after former President Trump had previously blocked the appointment.
  • "But unblocking the appointment is only the start in dealing with trade disputes launched by Trump, and in resolving U.S. concerns about the WTO that date to the Obama administration," the AP writes.

What she's saying: The WTO “is facing so many challenges” and is in need of “deep and wide-ranging reforms," Okonjo-Iweala said in an online news conference.

  • "A strong WTO is vital if we are able to recover fully and rapidly from the devastation wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic," she said, adding that "vaccine nationalism" could slow pandemic recovery.
  • “It will not be easy because we have the issue of lack of trust among members which has built up over time."

What to watch: Okonjo-Iweala will start in her new capacity on March 1, for a renewable term expiring on Aug. 31, 2025.

Go deeper

Mike Allen, author of AM
19 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Biden adviser Cedric Richmond sees first-term progress on reparations

Illustration: "Axios on HBO"

White House senior adviser Cedric Richmond told "Axios on HBO" that it's "doable" for President Biden to make first-term progress on breaking down barriers for people of color, while Congress studies reparations for slavery.

Why it matters: Biden said on the campaign trail that he supports creation of a commission to study and develop proposals for reparations — direct payments for African-Americans.

Cyber CEO: Next war will hit regular Americans online

Any future real-world conflict between the United States and an adversary like China or Russia will have direct impacts on regular Americans because of the risk of cyber attack, Kevin Mandia, CEO of cybersecurity company FireEye, tells "Axios on HBO."

What they're saying: "The next conflict where the gloves come off in cyber, the American citizen will be dragged into it, whether they want to be or not. Period."

Cedric Richmond: We won't wait on GOP for "insufficient" stimulus

Top Biden adviser Cedric Richmond told "Axios on HBO" the White House believes it has bipartisan support for a stimulus bill outside the Beltway.

  • "If our choice is to wait and go bipartisan with an insufficient package, we are not going to do that."

The big picture: The bill will likely undergo an overhaul in the Senate after House Democrats narrowly passed a stimulus bill this weekend, reports Axios' Kadia Goba.

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