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Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

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Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala (born 13 June 1954) is a global finance expert. She is an economist and international development expert with over 25 years of experience working in Asia, Africa, Central Europe and Latin America.

Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala chairs the Board of the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI) and the African Risk Capacity (ARC).

In July 2018, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, was named on the board of Twitter Inc.

In July 2017, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, was named an independent non-executive director at Standard Chartered Plc in the United Kingdom.

She is also a Senior Adviser at Lazard.

Previously, Okonjo-Iweala spent a 25-year career at the World Bank as a development economist, rising to the position of Managing Director (2007-2011). She also served two terms as Finance Minister of Nigeria (2003-2006, 2011-2015) under the leadership of President Olusegun Obasanjo and President Goodluck Jonathan respectively.

Education and personal life

Okonjo-Iweala was born in Ogwashi-Ukwu, Delta State, where her father Professor Chukwuka Okonjo is the Eze (King) from the Obahai Royal Family of Ogwashi-Ukwu.

Okonjo-Iweala was educated at Queens School, Enugu, St. Anne's School, Molete, Ibadan, the International School Ibadan and Harvard University, graduating magna cum laude with an AB in Economics in 1976, and earned her PhD in regional economics and development from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1981 with a thesis title Credit policy, rural financial markets, and Nigeria's agricultural development.  She received an International Fellowship from the American Association of University Women (AAUW) that supported her doctoral studies

She is married to Dr. Ikemba Iweala, a neurosurgeon. They have four children - Onyine Iweala (MD PhD Harvard), Uzodinma Iweala (MD Columbia), Okechukwu Iweala (AB Harvard) and Uchechi Iweala (MD/MBA Harvard).

Career

Okonjo-Iweala spent a 25-year career at the World Bank as a development economist, rising to the No. 2 position of Managing Director. As Managing Director, she had oversight responsibility for the World Bank’s $81 billion operational portfolio in Africa, South Asia, Europe and Central Asia.[3] Okonjo-Iweala spearheaded several World Bank initiatives to assist low-income countries during the 2008 – 2009 food crises and later during the financial crisis. In 2010, she was chair of the IDA replenishment, World Bank’s successful drive to raise $49.3 billion in grants and low interest credit for the poorest countries in the world. During her time at the World Bank, she was also a member of the Commission on Effective Development Cooperation with Africa which was set up by the Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen of Denmark and held meetings between April and October 2008

In 2011, Okonjo-Iweala was reappointed as Minister of Finance in Nigeria with the expanded portfolio of the Coordinating Minister for the Economy by President Goodluck Jonathan. Her legacy includes strengthening Nigeria’s public financial systems, stimulating the housing sector with the establishment of the Nigerian Mortgage Refinance Corporation (NMRC).She also empowered Nigeria’s women and youth with the Growing Girls and Women in Nigeria Programme (GWIN); a gender responsive budgeting system and the highly acclaimed Youth Enterprise with Innovation programme (YouWIN); to support entrepreneurs that created thousands of jobs.

This program has been evaluated by the World Bank as one of the most effective programmes of its kind globally. Under her leadership, the National Bureau of Statistics carried out a rebasing exercise; the first in 24 years, which saw Nigeria emerge as the largest economy in Africa. She took a lot of heat, more so than any other government official for the fuel subsidy removal policy by the Nigerian government, which led to protests in January 2012.In May 2016, the new Nigerian administration eventually removed the fuel subsidy after it became apparent that it was unsustainable and inefficient.

In September 2015, she joined Lazard as a Senior Advisor and in January 2016 she was appointed Chair of the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI).

She is co-chair of the Global Commission for the Economy and Climate, with Nicholas Stern and Paul Polman. In July 2017, she became an independent non-executive director at Standard Chartered PLC. 2017

Jack Dorsey announced on July 19, 2018 that Okonjo-Iweala would join Twitter's Board of Directors

Honors and awards

Okonjo-Iweala has received recognition and a number of awards. She was named one of the "50 Greatest World Leaders" by Fortune magazine in 2015,one of the "100 Most Influential People in the World" by Time magazine in 2014, and one of Foreign Policy magazine's "Top 100 Global Thinkers" in 2012. In 2017, Dr Okonjo-Iweala received the Women’s Economic Empowerment Award from WEConnect International, and the Vanguard Award from Howard University. She also received the Madeleine K. Albright Global Development Award from the Aspen Institute. In 2016, she received the Power with Purpose Award from the Devex Development Communications Network and the Global Fairness Award from the Global Fairness Initiative, and she was also conferred High National Honours from the Republic of Cote d’Ivoire and the Republic of Liberia. She is also the recipient of Nigeria's Commander of the Federal Republic (CFR). In addition, Dr Okonjo-Iweala has been awarded the David Rockefeller Bridging Leadership Award (2014), the President of the Italian Republic Gold Medal by the Pia Manzu Centre (2011), the Global Leadership Award by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs (2011) the Global Leadership Award by the Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs (2010), and the Bishop John T. Walker Distinguished Humanitarian Service Award (2010). She is also the recipient of the TIME’s European Heroes Award in 2004, named Finance Minister of the Year (Africa Investor Magazine, 2014), Finance Minister of the Year for Africa and the Middle East (THE BANKER, 2004), Global Finance Minister of the Year (EUROMONEY, 2005), Finance Minister of the Year for Africa and the Middle East (Emerging Markets Magazine, 2005), and Minister of the Year (THISDAY, 2004 and 2005).

Okonjo-Iweala has received honorary degrees from 14 universities worldwide, including some from the most prestigious colleges: the University of Pennsylvania (2013),,Yale University (2015),, Babcock University (2014),, Amherst College (2009) Trinity College, Dublin (2007) Brown University (2006),, Colby College (2007)., and Northern Caribbean University, Jamaica. She also has honorary doctorate degrees from a host of Nigerian universities including Abia State University, Delta State University, Oduduwa University, Babcock University, and the Universities of Port Harcourt, Calabar, and Ife (Obafemi Awolowo).

Works

  • Fighting Corruption is Dangerous : The story behind the headlines - A frontline account of how to fight corruption, from Nigeria's former finance minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. Published by MIT Press, (2018).
  • Reforming The Unreformable: Lessons From Nigeria – an account of Ngozi's work under Obasanjo's administration between 2003 – 2007, published by MIT Press, (2012)
  • Shine a Light on the Gaps – an essay on financial inclusion for African Small Holder Farmers, published by Foreign Affairs (2015), co-authored with Janeen Madan
  • Funding the SDGs: Licit and Illicit Financial Flows from Developing Countries, published by Horizons Magazine (2016)
  • Chinua Achebe: Teacher of Light – a biography of Nigerian author Chinua Achebe, published by Africa World Press, (2003), co-authored with Tijan Sallah
  • The Debt Trap in Nigeria: Towards a Sustainable Debt Strategy – an academic piece, published by Africa World Press, (2003), co-edited with Charles C. Soludo and Mansur Muhtar
  • Want to Help Africa? Do Business Here – A Ted Talk delivered March 2007
  • Aid Versus Trade – A Ted Talk delivered June 2007
  • Don’t Trivialise Corruption, Tackle It – A Tedx Euston Talk delivered January 2013

 

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