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Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

The Director-General of WTO.
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala
Occupation
Economist, former Finance Minister of Nigeria, Director, Board Member
Known for
Economist, Director-General of the World Trade Organization
Education
Harvard University (BA), Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MA, PhD) Nationality: Nigeria (1954–present), United States (2019–present)
Social Media
Summary

Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is a globally recognized economist, finance expert, and international development professional with over four decades of experience. She currently serves as the Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and has held influential positions, including Chair of the Board of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. Dr. Okonjo-Iweala's skill as a negotiator and consensus builder has resulted in numerous successful agreements and garnered the trust of governments and stakeholders worldwide.

With two terms as Nigeria's Finance Minister and positions at the World Bank, Dr. Okonjo-Iweala has been instrumental in implementing impactful reforms and driving sustainable development. She firmly believes in the transformative power of trade to alleviate poverty and foster economic growth. Her groundbreaking candidacy for the presidency of the World Bank in 2012 marked a significant milestone, and she has received widespread recognition for her leadership, including being listed among Forbes' Top 100 Most Powerful Women in the World.

Beyond her official roles, Dr. Okonjo-Iweala has founded organizations such as NOI-Polls and the Center for the Study of Economies of Africa (C-SEA). She serves on various advisory boards and has contributed as an author, further solidifying her influence in the field. Driven by her commitment to transparency and inclusive growth, she continues to inspire positive change and make a lasting impact in global economics and development.

 

Biography

Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is a globally recognized economist, international development professional, and finance expert. With over 40 years of experience working across continents, she has held influential positions in various organizations and governments.

As the Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO) since March 2021, Dr. Okonjo-Iweala has brought her extensive expertise to promote global trade and economic growth. Prior to this role, she served as Chair of the Board of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, and held positions on the Boards of Standard Chartered PLC and Twitter Inc. She also served as the African Union Special Envoy to mobilize international financial support for the fight against COVID-19 and as the World Health Organization (WHO) Special Envoy for Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator.

Dr. Okonjo-Iweala's career includes two terms as Nigeria's Finance Minister (2003-2006 and 2011-2015) and a brief period as Foreign Minister in 2006, making her the first woman to hold both positions. Her tenure was marked by significant reforms that improved the effectiveness of the ministries and the overall government machinery. She also had a distinguished 25-year career at the World Bank, rising to the position of Managing Director, Operations, where she oversaw a substantial operational portfolio.

Throughout her career, Dr. Okonjo-Iweala has been a staunch advocate for trade as a means to lift developing countries out of poverty and achieve sustainable development. She played a pivotal role in trade negotiations, including those with other West African countries, and contributed to enhancing Nigeria's trade competitiveness through policy reforms.

Dr. Okonjo-Iweala's accomplishments and leadership have been widely recognized. She has received numerous awards and honors, including being listed among the Top 100 Most Powerful Women in the World (Forbes), Top 100 Most Influential People in the World (TIME), and Top Three Most Powerful Women in Africa (Forbes).

In addition to her professional roles, Dr. Okonjo-Iweala is involved in several advisory boards and groups, including the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, the Oxford University Martin School Advisory Council, and the Bloomberg Task Force on Fiscal Policy for Health. She is also a published author and the founder of NOI-Polls, Nigeria's first indigenous opinion-research organization, and the Center for the Study of Economies of Africa (C-SEA), a development research think tank.

Dr. Okonjo-Iweala holds a Ph.D. in Regional Economics and Development from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and an A.B. in Economics from Harvard University. She has received honorary degrees from numerous universities worldwide.

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


Vision

Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala envisions a world where trade plays a pivotal role in lifting developing countries out of poverty and driving robust economic growth. As the Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO), she advocates for a fair and inclusive global trading system that benefits all nations, particularly the most vulnerable. She believes that by reducing trade barriers, promoting sustainable practices, and fostering innovation, countries can unlock their full potential and achieve sustainable development.

Dr. Okonjo-Iweala's vision encompasses empowering developing countries to actively participate in global trade and ensuring that their voices are heard in shaping trade policies. She recognizes the importance of addressing the specific challenges faced by these nations, such as limited infrastructure and capacity, and works towards providing them with the necessary support and technical assistance. By promoting inclusive trade policies that take into account the needs and priorities of all nations, she aims to create a more equitable and balanced global economic landscape.

Furthermore, Dr. Okonjo-Iweala emphasizes the significance of leveraging trade as a tool for addressing pressing global issues, such as climate change and public health crises. She believes that trade can contribute to sustainable development by fostering green practices, encouraging investment in clean technologies, and facilitating the distribution of essential goods and services. Her vision encompasses harnessing the potential of trade to drive economic 


Recognition and Awards
Dr Okonjo-Iweala has been listed as one of the world’s most influential leaders (Time, 2021), one of the 25 most influential women (Financial Times, 2021), Minister of the Decade, People’s Choice Award by Nigeria’s This Day newspaper (2020), one of Transparency International’s Eight Female Anti-Corruption Fighters Who Inspire (2019), 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 Three 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 UK 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). She has also been listed among 73 “brilliant” business influencers in the world by Condé Nast International.

References
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala
Occupation
Economist, former Finance Minister of Nigeria, Director, Board Member
Known for
Economist, Director-General of the World Trade Organization
Education
Harvard University (BA), Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MA, PhD) Nationality: Nigeria (1954–present), United States (2019–present)
Social Media