For the first time in years, there's a budding sense of optimism in Geneva about the global trading system.
Today, after a bruising nine-month selection process, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala will be appointed head of the World Trade Organization with the support of the world's major trading nations, including China and (eventually) the US.
Campaigning to be the WTO director-general, however, is a starkly different task than actually being one.
When Okonjo-Iweala enters her new office on the first floor of the Centre William Rappard, she will inherit a dysfunctional organization confronting its institutional nadir.
The WTO's inability to meaningfully evolve since 1995 has left it moribund, with an inadequate rulebook to govern forces like China's economic ascent and the exponential growth of the internet economy.
What's more, the organization has been slow to respond to urgent threats posed by the Covid-19 pandemic and the effects of climate change.
Reforming the WTO is now an urgent task and any failure to do so will cement its irrelevance and risk the proliferation of new global trade conflicts.
So, will the appointment of a new director-general fix this state of disrepair?
It's too soon to say.
It's important to gauge one's expectations about what Okonjo-Iweala — or any director-general for that matter — may or may not be able to accomplish during her first four-year term.
Despite all the hype, the power of director-general is actually quite limited.
The WTO is a member-driven organization, which means all its major decisions are made by a consensus of 164 governments — not the director-general.
That means that if the WTO is to reform itself — the decision to do so must emerge from an unruly conglomeration of trading nations with very different views on what role the WTO should play in the 21st global trading system.
But that doesn't mean all is hopeless.
This week the European Union will offer a contribution to the discussion in the form of a sweeping reform agenda.
And over the past month both China's President Xi Jinping and the Biden administration in Washington have separately pledged to engage in a process to reform of the WTO.
These are developments that could provide the kind of forward momentum the WTO needs to begin its next chapter.
Disclaimer: This article first appeared on Bloomberg, and is published by special syndication arrangement