Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is a woman (born 13 June 1954) a Nigerian economist and an international development expert.

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

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala Early Life:

Okonjo-Iweala was educated at Queen’s School, Enugu, St. Anne’s School, Molete, Ibadan, and the International School Ibadan. She arrived in the US in 1973 as a teenager to study at Harvard University, graduating magna cum laude with an AB in Economics in 1976.

In 1981, she earned her PhD in regional economics and development from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a thesis titled 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.

Welcome To Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala’s World:

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala Career:

Okonjo-Iweala spent a 25-year career at the World Bank as a development economist, scaling the ranks to the Number 2 position of Managing Director, Operations (2007–2011).

She also served two terms as Finance Minister of Nigeria (2003–2006, 2011–2015) under President Olusegun Obasanjo and President Goodluck Jonathan respectively.

She was the first woman to serve as the country’s finance minister and the first woman to serve in that office twice. In 2005, Euromoney named her global finance minister of the year.

She spent a 25-year career at the World Bank as a development economist, rising to the No. 2 positions of Managing Director, responsible for an $81 billion operational portfolio including Europe and Central Asia, South Asia, and Africa (2007-2011)

Okonjo-Iweala was also the first woman to run for the presidency at the World Bank, where she spent more than two decades.

Ngozi Okonjo Iweala Chairs The Gavi:

Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is Chair of the Board of Gavi, the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization. Since its creation in 2000, Gavi has immunized 580 million children globally and saved 8 million lives.

She is also Senior Adviser at Lazard, one of the world’s premier financial advisory and asset management firms.

Dr Okonjo-Iweala is currently also Chair of the Board of the African Union’s African Risk Capacity (ARC), an innovative weather-based insurance mechanism for African countries; and co-Chair of the Commission on the New Climate Economy with Lord Nicolas Stern and Paul Polman.

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Also, she is a member of numerous boards and advisory groups, including the Rockefeller Foundation, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, Harvard University, the Oxford University Martin School Advisory Council, Mercy Corps, Women’s World Banking, the World Economic Forum Young Global Leaders Foundation, the International Commission on Financing Global Education (chaired by Gordon Brown), among others.

More Honours For Ngozi!

She is also Chair of the Board of the Nelson Mandela Institution, an umbrella body for the African Institutes of Science and Technology, and Chair of the Board of the African University of Science and Technology, Abuja.

Dr Okonjo-Iweala is a trustee of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

The International Commission on Financing Global Education (Chaired by Gordon Brown), Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Advisory Board, Tsinghua University Beijing – School of Public Policy and Management Global Advisory Board.

The CARICOM (Caribbean) Commission on the Economy, the Bloomberg Task Force on Fiscal Policy for Health, and Tax Inspectors Without Borders of the OECD among others.

She is a member of the B Team of Business and Civic Leaders co-founded by Sir Richard Branson, a board member of the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Foundation, and also a board member of Lumos, an Africa focused renewable energy company.

Dr Okonjo-Iweala is the founder of Nigeria’s first-ever indigenous opinion-research organization, NOI-Polls.

She also founded the Center for the Study of Economies of Africa (C-SEA), a development research think tank based in Abuja, Nigeria.

Dr Okonjo-Iweala is a Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Center for Global Development, and also at the Brookings Institution, premier Washington D.C. think tanks.

Honours She Garnered:

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has been listed as one of the 50 Greatest World Leaders (Fortune, 2015), the Top 100 Most Influential People in the World (TIME, 2014), the Top 100 Global Thinkers (Foreign Policy, 2011 and 2012).

The Top 100 Most Powerful Women in the World (Forbes,2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014), the Top 3 Most Powerful Women in Africa (Forbes, 2012), the Top 10 Most Influential Women in Africa (Forbes, 2011),

The Top 100 Women in the World (The Guardian, 2011), the Top 150 Women in the World (Newsweek, 2011), and the Top 100 most inspiring people in the World Delivering for Girls and Women (Women Deliver, 2011).

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Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala was also adjudged the ‘2020 African of the Year’. Previous winners have been Rwandan President Paul Kagame (2018) and African Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina (2019).


In 2019, Dr Okonjo-Iweala was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2017, she received the Madeleine K. Albright Global Development Award from the Aspen Institute, the Women’s Economic Empowerment Award from WEConnect International, and the Vanguard Award from Howard University.

2016, she received the Power with Purpose Award from the Devex Development Communications Network and the Global Fairness Award from the Global Fairness Initiative in recognition of her contribution to sustainable development.

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 third-highest National Honours Commander of the Federal Republic (CFR).

Besides, 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).

Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala also receives 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 Magazine’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, Newspaper2004 and 2005).

Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala Toady:

On the 15th of Feb 2021 history was made as the Nigerian economist Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala was appointed as the director-general of the World Trade Organization, becoming the first woman and the first African national to lead the global trade body.

This came after the Trump-led administration refused to back Okonjo-Iweala for the position last fall, saying she lacked trade experience.

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While 163 other nations coalesced behind Okonjo-Iweala, the U.S. announced in October it would officially back South Korean Trade Minister Yoo Myung-hee in the everyone-must-agree race.

But President Joe Biden signalled last week he would reverse efforts to block the appointment, all but ensuring unanimous support of Okonjo-Iweala at the WTO, and all of it came into reality on Monday 15th Feb. 2021.

Hope For WTO:

Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has said in a statement, “A strong WTO is vital if we are to recover fully and rapidly from the devastation wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic.

She will face daunting challenges following gaps in leadership and stalled trade disputes.

Former President Donald Trump was highly critical of the WTO and blocked judge appointments on its key decision-making body, upending the organization at the same time that it ramped up global trade disputes.

Summary On Facts About Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala;

Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has written her name on the sand of time, aside from her stride in awards and honours she has imparted her knowledge to others by authoring numerous articles and several books, including Fighting Corruption is Dangerous:

The Story Behind the Headlines (MIT Press, 2018), Reforming the UnReformable: Lessons from Nigeria, (MIT Press, 2012), Mobilizing Finance for Education in the Commonwealth (Commonwealth Education Report 2019).

Shine a Light on the Gaps – an essay on financial inclusion for African Small Holder Farmers(Foreign Affairs, 2015), Funding the SDGs.

Licit and Illicit Financial Flows from Developing Countries (Horizons Magazine, 2016), and The Debt Trap in Nigeria: Towards a Sustainable Debt Strategy (Africa World Press, 2003).

She also co-authored with Tijan Sallah the book Chinua Achebe: Teacher of Light (Africa World Press, 2003).

She is married to Dr Ikemba Iweala, a neurosurgeon. They have four children and three grandchildren.

Thank you for taking the time to read through this article of a rare gem of our time, You can share your thought with us or reach us via our contact page.

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