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War and Unrest Threatening Globalization, WTO Chief Says

Victor Westerkamp
Victor resides in the Netherlands and writes about freedom and governmental and social changes to the democratic form of nations.
Published: October 11, 2023
This aerial photo taken on October 7, 2023, shows cargo ships berthing at Nanjing port in China's eastern Jiangsu province. The head of the World Trade Organization (WTO), Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, issued a warning that supply chain instability, war, and sanctions were among the "first signs" of a serious threat to the current globalized economy. (Image: STR/AFP via Getty Images)

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, head of the World Trade Organization (WTO), warned that crises such as war, sanctions, and unstable supply chains were among the “first signs” of a major challenge to the present globalized economy.

“We don’t see large-scale fragmentation yet, but there are first signs,” Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said at the Building Bridges Summit on sustainable finance, which was held Oct. 3 and Oct. 4, as reported by Germany’s Spiegel news outlet. 

Speaking about mitigating “very costly” developments, the 69-year-old Nigerian called for “friend-shoring,” which refers to relocating business processes to countries where similar political and social values are shared. 


“Let’s rethink globalization,” she demanded.

War in Ukraine

For example, some Western corporations are looking for alternatives to China as a production location for tactical reasons. Some executives are concerned that the West could impose sanctions similar to those currently imposed on Russia over the war with Ukraine in the event of a Communist Chinese invasion of Taiwan.

Unequal competitive conditions in the mainland Chinese domestic market are also an important reason why many foreign companies have been withdrawing from the country for some time. Other emerging economies, such as India, took advantage of this development and stepped into this gap.

Another trend Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala warned against would be the practice of “reshoring.” This involves the relocation of production facilities from emerging countries back to the industrialized countries. “Let’s not do that,” she said.

World Trade Organization (WTO) Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala attends the opening of a four-day Building Bridges Summit on sustainable finance in Geneva on October 2, 2023. (Image: FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP via Getty Images)

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has warned that a strong fragmentation of the global economy could reduce global economic output by up to seven percent. 

The WTO director also highlighted the vulnerability of supply chains. These must be consolidated; then general growth can be brought about again, she argued.

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has been Director-General of the World Trade Organization since 1 March 2021. She is the first woman and the first African woman to hold this post. According to the WTO website, she is a global financial expert, economist, and international development expert with over 40 years of experience in Asia, Africa, Europe, Latin America, and North America. 

Since 2015, she has also been Chair of the Board of Directors of the Gavi Vaccine Alliance and has ties with the World Economic Forum and other international organizations like the UN, WHO, and IMF. 

Such organizations have elicited controversy for their pursuit of the UN’s Agenda 2030, which envisions the worldwide centralization and total control of food, health, energy, education, and media supply at the cost of local economies, civil freedoms, and traditions.