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Profiles - December 5, 2020

Trailing the Footprints of an African Titan

Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is a Nigerian economics  and international development expert. She is an industry titan with a long list of achievements and laurels to her name. Dr. Ngozi is a member of the Boards of Standard Chartered Bank, Twitter, Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI), and the African Risk Capacity (ARC).

She is the founder of Nigeria’s first indigenous opinion-research organisation, NOI-Polls. She also founded the Center for the Study of Economies of Africa (C-SEA).

Dr Ngozi 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 between 2007–2011.

She was Nigeria’s Minister of Finance, serving two terms under presidents Olusegun Obasanjo and Goodluck Jonathan.  She subsequently served as the Minister of Foreign Affairs. 

During her first term as Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala spearheaded negotiations with the Paris Club that led to the wiping out of US$30 billion of Nigeria’s debt, including the outright cancellation of US$18 billion debt.

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In 2003, she led efforts to strengthen the macroeconomic industry sectors of the economy, including the introduction of a fiscal rule based on oil prices where revenues accruing above a referenced benchmark oil price were saved in a special account, the Excess Crude Account, which helped minimize macroeconomic volatility.

Dr. Ngozi was key to Nigeria’s first ever sovereign credit rating (of BB minus) from Fitch Ratings and Standard & Poor’s in 2006. She is a member of the African Development Bank’s Board of Governors. 

She has received various awards and honours, including Time Magazine European Hero 2004, Euromoney Magazine 2005 Global Finance Minister, 2005 Financial Times/The Banker African Finance Minister, 2004 and 2005 This Day’s Nigeria Minister of the Year, 2007 Colby College Honorary Doctorate of Laws, and 2006 Brown University Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters, Northern Caribbean University, Jamaica.

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