Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala will go down historical past lane for a number of causes, and her signature head-tie shouldn’t be certainly one of them. The most up-to-date motive for her dominating the information is her achievement because the First Nigerian, First African and first feminine ever to be confirmed Director-General of the World Trade Organisation, efficient from March 1, 2021.
Since the affirmation was made public through a tweet from WTO, congratulatory messages and encomiums have dominated the media house from the political and the financial house. However, this could not be the primary of her firsts.
She positively has a popularity as not being one to shirk a problem of competency on the premise of her gender, and this may simply be seen within the path of firsts which litters her profile. She was the primary girl to move Nigeria’s finance ministry (twice), paving the best way for Kemi Adeosun and Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed, who held the place after her. She was additionally Nigeria’s first feminine Minister for Foreign Affairs.
It is critical to recollect among the issues which construct an enviable profile for Okonjo-Iweala and made her probably the most most well-liked candidate because the seventh DG of the WTO regardless of earlier oppositions.
Ngozi was born on 13 June 1954 in Ogwashi-uku (now a part of Delta state), to Professor Chukwuka Okonjo who was the Obi and a member of the Obahai Royal Family of Ogwashi-uku. She later added the surname, Iweala, when she married Ikemba Iweala, a neurosurgeon from Umuahia, Abia State, Nigeria.
She had her early education at Queen’s School, Enugu, earlier than shifting to Ibadan the place she attended St. Anne’s School, Molete, and the International School Ibadan. As a young person, she travelled to the USA in 1973 to check Economics at Harvard University and graduated Magna Cum Laude with an AB in 1976.
Five years later, she bagged a Ph.D. in regional economics and growth from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Okonjo-Iweala began out on the World Bank as an intern and returned as a Development Economist after commencement. She labored there for a complete of 25 years, spearheading a number of initiatives to help low-income nations by means of monetary and meals disaster. She held the positions of Corporate Secretary, Vice President and Managing Director Operations at totally different occasions.
She was first appointed into the Nigerian federal cupboard below President Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration as Finance Minister and likewise Minister of Foreign Affairs, the primary feminine to carry each positions. She was later appointed Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of Economy below President Goodluck Jonathan.
Her efforts to cut back macroeconomic volatility by creating “The Excess Crude Account” to save lots of revenues accruing above a reference benchmark oil worth continues to be thought of certainly one of her most notable achievements as Minister. She additionally constructed an digital monetary administration platform—the Government Integrated Financial Management and Information System (GIFMIS), together with the Treasury Single Account (TSA) and the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS), to assist examine corruption within the system.
Okonjo-Iweala was instrumental in serving to Nigeria receive its first ever sovereign credit standing (of BB minus) from Fitch Ratings and Standard & Poor’s in 2006, and her tenure noticed Nigeria emerge as the biggest economic system in Africa.
Afterwards, she joined Lazard, a monetary advisory and asset administration agency as Senior Advisor. Okonjo-Iweala served as a member of the International Commission on Financing Global Education Opportunity (2015–2016), chaired by Gordon Brown, and the Eminent Persons Group on Global Financial Governance, which was established by the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors (2017–2018). She has additionally served and nonetheless sits on a number of boards and organisations.
She based NOI-Polls, Nigeria’s first indigenous opinion-research group, in addition to the Centre for the Study of the Economies of Africa (C-SEA) a growth analysis assume tank based mostly in Abuja.
She has delivered and revealed a number of speeches and write-ups on sustainable debt technique, selling Trade as towards Aid in low-income nations. In 2018, she revealed the e-book Fighting Corruption is Dangerous : The story behind the headlines – A frontline account from Nigeria’s former finance minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, of the right way to battle corruption and classes realized for governance and growth, and plenty of nonetheless contemplate this her most controversial work.
Okonjo-Iweala serves on a number of boards together with Twitter’s board of administrators, a particular envoy for the World Health Organisation’s COVID-19 battle, the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI) alliance which she chairs since 2016.
She sits on the boards of Standard Chartered Bank Non-executive member since 2017, the International Advisory Board of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), (since 2017); the International Advisory Panel of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), since 2016; Ex-Officio Member of the Board of Governors of African Development Bank (AfDB), (2003–2006, 2011–2015), and she or he is a Member of the International Monetary and Finance Committee, International Monetary Fund (IMF), (2003–2006, 2011–2015).
She can also be a part of a number of non-profit organisations together with Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Member of the Board of Trustees (since 2019), Bloomberg New Economy Forum, Member of the Advisory Board (since 2018), Member of the Board of Directors of Results for Development (R4D) (since 2014); Member of the Advisory Board of Global Business Coalition for Education; Board Chairman of the African Risk Capacity (ARC), Women’s World Banking, Member of the Africa Advisory Council (since 2014), Chair of the Board of Nelson Mandela Institution, and several other others.
The WTO DG race
In June 2020, Okonjo-Iweala together with a number of different candidates indicated their curiosity to run for the place of Director-General of the Switzerland-based WTO, and the race started. The race is often certainly one of consensus so when she began to obtain the nod from a number of member-nations, clinching the place appeared like a sealed deal.
The main opposition as at 2020 was South Korea’s Minister for commerce, Yoo Myung-hee who had the backing of Donald Trump-led administration of the USA, and this halted what would have been a consensus resolution.
Following Joe Biden’s election into the US presidency and predictions that he would declare help for Okonjo-Iweala, Myung Hee withdrew from the race on 5 February. Soon after, the U.S. Trade Representative’s workplace issued a press release endorsing Okonjo-Iweala and describing her wealth of information in economics and worldwide diplomacy as a essential addition to the workplace.
Expectedly, Okonjo-Iweala was confirmed into the place on February 15, and is about to succeed Roberto Azevêdo, efficient March 1.
It could be close to unimaginable to compute all Okonjo-Iweala’s a whole lot of awards and honors in a single article with out boring the readers.
However, some fascinating awards embrace the President of the Italian Republic Gold Medal, by Pia Manzu Centre 2011; Global Leadership Award 2011, by Chicago Council on Global Affairs; Finance Minister of the Year 2005 for Africa and the Middle East, by The Banker; Global Finance Minister of the Year 2005, by Euromoney; Bishop John T. Walker Distinguished Humanitarian Service Award 2010; and TIME’s European Heroes Award 2004.
In 2017, she acquired the Madeleine Ok. Albright Global Development Award, from Aspen Institute; 2017 Vanguard Award, from Howard University. In December 2020, she was named the Forbes African of the Year, 2020, an award beforehand received by Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina of the AfDB, Muhammad Sanusi II and Aliko Dangote.
She has acquired honorary levels from about 14 universities, together with the Yale University, University of Pennsylvania, Northern Caribbean University, Jamaica, Brown University, Tel Aviv University and Trinity College, Dublin.
She was listed as one of many 50 Greatest World Leaders (Fortune, 2015), the Top 100 Most Powerful Women within the World (Forbes, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014), the Top 3 Most Powerful Women in Africa (Forbes, 2012), the Top 100 Most Influential People within the World (TIME, 2014), the Top 100 Global Thinkers (Foreign Policy, 2011 and 2012), amongst others.
Okonjo-Iweala was conferred High National Honours from the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire and the Republic of Liberia, and likewise holds the honors of Nigeria’s Commander of the Federal Republic (CFR).