Okonjo-Iweala Cautions World Leaders on Israel-Hamas Conflict

The Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO), Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has delivered a stern warning to world leaders.
Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, DG of World Trade Organisation
Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, DG of World Trade Organisation Premium Times

She shed light on the urgent need to resolve the conflict between Israel and Hamas militants and impassioned plea during her address at the International Monetary Fund and World Bank annual meetings held in Marrakesh, Morocco.

In her address, she underlined the potential catastrophic consequences that an ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict could have on global trade, categorizing it as a "really big impact."

Dr. Okonjo-Iweala highlighted that the prevailing global trade landscape is already grappling with various challenges. Factors such as higher interest rates, a strained Chinese property market, and the ongoing conflict in Ukraine initiated by Russia have collectively weakened global trade flows. She urged leaders to recognize that the situation could further deteriorate if the conflict in the Middle East escalates.

Her words serve as a call to action, a reminder that the economic interdependence of nations in today's world means that regional conflicts have far-reaching consequences. Dr. Okonjo-Iweala's message reverberates with a sense of urgency, emphasizing the critical role of diplomacy and peace in safeguarding global economic stability.

“We hope this ends soon and it’s contained. Our biggest fear is if it widens, because that will then have a really big impact on trade,” she said. “Everybody’s on eggshells and hoping for the best.”

“There’s uncertainty about whether this is going to spread further to the whole region, which could impact very much on global economic growth. We hope that all the violence will end… because it does create this uncertainty. It’s another dark cloud on the horizon.”

The Geneva-based trade body last week halved its growth forecast for global goods trade this year, citing persistent inflation, higher interest rates, the slowing Chinese economy and the war in Ukraine.

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