Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala on September 2, 2022 expressed her condolences on the passing of Ambassador Léopold-Ismaël Samba of the Central African Republic. Ambassador Samba had served as the Central African Republic’s Permanent Representative to the WTO since 2007.
“Ambassador Samba was a champion within the WTO community for trade-led development,” DG Okonjo-Iweala said. “Over the course of his long and respected service here, Ambassador Samba became Dean of the African ambassadors in Geneva. In this role, he helped new African ambassadors find their feet. Dean Samba was of great support to me personally as I assumed the job of the WTO Director-General.”
“He was a strong advocate of the interests of his country, of the African continent, and for the wider group of least-developed countries,” the DG continued. “He will be missed at the WTO, but his legacy and contributions will be remembered, as will his eloquence.”
At the height of the pandemic, Ambassador Samba was a powerful voice for vaccine equity and timely access.
In addition to the WTO, Ambassador Samba was appointed Permanent Representative of the Central African Republic to the European Offices of the United Nations and other international organizations in Geneva and Vienna in 2009. He also served as the Central African Republic’s Ambassador to the Swiss Confederation. At the time of his death he chaired the Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF) Board and was recently the coordinator of the African Group at the World Health Organization.
Ambassador Samba is fondly remembered for his wise counsel and will be deeply missed.
The World Trade Organization (WTO) deals with the global rules of trade between nations. Its main function is to ensure that trade flows as smoothly, predictably and freely as possible.