The office of the Trade Negotiation on Monday confirmed the death of the Director-General to the agency, Ambassador Chiedu Osakwe.
In a statement by the agency’s Head, Strategy and Communications, Emenike Chibuzor, the Director-General died on the 22nd September 2019 in Geneva Switzerland after a brief illness.
Osakwe was the trade adviser to the Economic Management Team and also a member of the Nigerian Industrial Policy and Competitiveness Advisory Council.
“He served as the Chairman of the Negotiating Forum (NF) and Senior Trade Officials (STOs) for the negotiations on the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), during which he led the AfCFTA negotiating institutions to finalize stage 1 of the AfCFTA negotiations on trade in goods and services for signature by African Heads of State and governments.
“Prior to his appointment as DG/Chief Trade Negotiator Nigeria, Ambassador Osakwe was an Associate Professor on International Trade Policy, Diplomacy and Negotiations (on a leave of absence) at the International University in Geneva. He lectured globally and published extensively in peer-reviewed journals on a range of subjects, including trade policy; fiscal and monetary policies; and, structural reforms.
“At the World Trade Organization (WTO) where he worked for 19 years (1998-2017), he was a member of WTO Senior Management, serving as Director of the Divisions of Accessions as Doha Development Agenda Special Duties; Textiles; and, Technical Cooperation. He was also, Special Coordinator for Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and Head of the Secretariat Inter-agency Working Group for the Integrated Framework for LDCs in the Office of the Director-General. He retired from the WTO Secretariat on 8 September 2017,” the agency said.
Ambassador Osakwe joined Nigerian Foreign Service on 23 July 1979 after his NYSC where he worked till 4 May 1998. During this period, he served in various capacities at the headquarters of the Nigerian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Lagos and then Abuja.
As a Nigerian diplomat, he held a number of international positions. At Nigeria’s Permanent Mission in New York, he was Chairman of the UN Sub-Committee on the Legal Aspects of the Struggle against Apartheid (1984-1986). He was highly regarded for his knowledge and expertise on international trade policy and for his contributions to the WTO, African Union, ECOWAS and to Nigeria.