Dr. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala is expected to be the first female and African director-general of the World Trade Organization(WTO) after being elected and following her endorsement by President Muhammadu Buhari.
She gathered the Majority of the votes and would have been announced as the winner. But for the rejection by the United States which is still taking much deliberation on the part of the committee, she is yet to be declared the winner.
Just like Akinwunmi Adesina the current AfDB president who is also one of the great icons that Nigeria has produced, he was also opposed by forces from the United States but triumphed, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala also found herself in the same situation but the odds seem to be in her favor.
Talking about one of the most successful and inspiring women in Africa, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala is one. Today, we will be exploring the life history and biography of Ngozi Okonjo Iweala with her career, achievements and recognition, and family.
Combining a Career with family is no joke not to talk of excelling at both. In case, you don’t know, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala is not just a successful Nigerian economist but also a mother, wife, and grandmother. Continue reading the biography of Ngozi Okonjo Iweala to learn more interesting facts about her.
Family Background and Education
Dr. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala who is known for her expertise as an economist was born on 13th, June 1954 in Ogwashi Ukwu town in Delta State. She was born into a Royal Family of Obahai in Ogwashi Ukwu where her father was the ruling King (Eze) during that period. Her father, Professor Chuckwuka Okonjo, and her mother, Kanene Okonjo were both University lecturers at the University of Ibadan.
She grew up in Ibadan where her parents work and also obtained her SSCE certificate from St. Anne International School, molested after leaving the Queen secondary in Enugu. She later traveled to the United States in her teenage years to study, where she obtained magna cum laude AB in Economics from Harvard University. She also has a Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and also a fellow of the American Association of University Women(AAUW).
Career and Achievement
The biography of Ngozi Okonjo Iweala is inspiring as a result of her numerous achievement while climbing her career ladder.
Dr. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala is an experienced economist and international development, expert. She worked at the World Bank for more than 25 years climbing the ladder from a secretary to the 2nd top position of the Director of Operations.
She was the Director of Operations for more than 3 years from 2007 to 2011. In 2012, she competed for the position of the President of World Bank even though she later lost it to Jun Young Kim, another candidate.
Apart from her career at the World Bank, she has been appointed for many top political positions in Nigeria. She was made the minister of Finance under the era of Obasanjo from 2003 to 2006. She was also re-appointed for the same position under the President Goodluck era from 2011 to 2015. The same for her tenure as the minister of Foreign Affairs from 2007 to 2011.
Do you know Dr. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala is also an author? Yes, she has about 5 books to her name from Reforming the Unreformable to Economic Reforms: Progress and Challenges, to Fighting Corruption is Dangerous to Chinua Achebe: Teacher of Light to Transparency, and Accountability in the Management of Public Funds. She has also delivered TED talk mainly aim to persuade investors. Her TED talks include 2007 Aid Versus Trade, Want to Help Africa? Do Business Here and finally Don’t Trivialise Corruption, Tackle It in 2013.
That’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to appointment, she has been pointed for many international positions by top tiers company. She is one of the board members of companies and organizations like Standard Chartered Bank, Twitter, Global Alliance for Vaccines, African Risk Capacity, and many others.
Below are some of her other appointed positions;
- She was a member of the International Monetary and Finance Committee of the IMF twice. (From 2003 to 2006 at first and 2011-2015 for the second time)
- The Country Director for Mongolia Country and the South East Asia unit at the World Bank
- The World Bank’s Development Committee Chairman in 2004
- Member of Commission on Africa led by the Danish-Government
- The World Economic Forum Global Leadership Council Member (on Transparency and Corruption)
- The Renowned Commission on World Growth member led by Professor Michael Spence(Nobel Prize winner)
- Clinton Global Initiative Advisory Board member
- ONE Foundation Advisory Board member
- The Nigeria Mortgage Refinance Company Plc Chairman till 26th May 2015
- Member, United Nations’ Secretary General’s High-Level Panel on the Post-2015 Development Agenda and the New Climate Economy;
- African Development Bank Board of Governors Members
- The Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation Co-Chair.
- Member of Board advisory for Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank International Advisory Panel
- Member of Board advisory for the International Commission on Financing Global Education
- Member of Board advisory for the African Institutes of Science and Technology
- Member of Board advisory for the Rockefeller Foundation
- Member of Board advisory for the University of Oxford’s Blavatnik School
- Member of Board advisory for the Harvard University Advisory Council
- Member of Board advisory for the University of Oxford Martin School’s Advisory Council
Apart from being intelligent and savvy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala is also a humanist and a philanthropist. She has impacted many Nigerians through her NGO project. She supported and help Women via her Growing Girls and Women in Nigeria initiative(GWIN) and also entrepreneurs via the Youth Enterprise Innovation Initiative popularly known as YOUWin.
After spending a lot of time working and studying in the US. She was able to acquire the citizens of the United States.
In 2020, the Nigerian President; Muhammadu Buhari nominated her as the country’s candidate for the position of the Director-General of the World Trade Organization(WTO). She made it to the final stage of the selection where she competes with a South Korean Software and Tech Expert; Yoo Myung-hee. She later received the backup and support of the European Union during the process.
On Wednesday, October 28th, 2020, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala was supposed to be announced as the first female Director-General of the World Trade Organization(WTO) after gathering the majority of the vote. But for the United States vehement rejection of her Candidacy. So, more deliberations are still going on whether she will occupy the position or not.
Even as her victory chances start getting affected, she is widely Celebrated by Nigerians and Africans. Being the first African to attain such a position, many see her as a mentor.
Family and Relationships
Dr. Ngozi Okonji Iweala is married to a Surgeon, Dr. Ikemba Iweala with 4 adult children. They both gave birth to a female, Onyinye Iweala, and 3 other males, Uzodinma Iweala, Ilechukwu Iweala, and Uchechi Iweala who all have their Masters and Ph.D. certificates from a different university. Apart from being a mother, the 66-year-old economist is also a grandmother of 3.
Awards and Recognition
Of course, a woman of Ngozi’s Okonji Iweala calibers will have a lot of awards and recognition from many countries, Companies, Universities, and other reputable organizations. Below is a list of her awards with Honorary recognition given.
Honorary Degrees and Doctorate
- In 2006, Honorary Doctorate of Laws from the Brown University in Providence, USA
- In 2007, Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland
- Colby College in Maine, USA
- In 2009, Amherst College in Amherst, MA(USA)
- In 2013, the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia PA, USA
- In 2014, Babcock University in Ogun State
- Abia State University in Abia State
- Oduduwa University in Osun State
- Obafemi Awolowo University in Osun State
- The University of Port Harcourt in Rivers State
- Yale University, New Haven in the USA
- The Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from the Northern Caribbean University, Mandeville in Jamaica
Awards and Recognition
- 2004 European Hero by the Time Magazine
- 2004 and 2005 Minister of the Year by This Day Nigeria
- 2005 Finance Minister of the year by Euromoney Magazine Global
- 2005 African Finance Minister of the year by the Financial Times
- 2005 Finance Minister of the Year for Africa by the Emerging Markets Magazine
- 2006 Nigerian of the Year
- 2007 Fortune World’s 50 Greatest Leaders
- 2008 Brilliant business influencers in the world by the Condé Nast International Business Intelligence Magazine.
- 2010 Bishop John T. Walker Humanitarian Service Award
- 2010 50 Most Notable Nigerians who are part of Nigeria Development by THISDAY
- 2010 Global Leadership Award by the Columbia University School
- Forbes magazine one of the 100 most powerful women in the world from 2011 till 2016.
- 2011 Most Influential Women in Africa by Forbes
- 2011 100 Women in the World by the Guardian UK Newspaper
- 2011 Top 150 Women in the World by the Newsweek Magazine,
- 2011 Italian Republic President Gold Medal by the Pia Manzu Centre
- 2011 100 most inspiring people in the World Delivering for Girls and Women by the Women Deliver
- 2011 and 2012 100 Global Thinkers by the Foreign Policy
- 2012 Forbes magazine one of the 3 most powerful women in Africa
- 2012 Woman of the Year award by SilverBird
- 2014 Time’s one of the 100 most influential people in the world
- 2014 Leadership Award (David Rockefeller)
- 2015 Africa Investor Magazine Finance Minister of the year by
- Fortune one of the most Greatest 50 World Leaders,
- 2016 Women Power with Purpose by Devex Network
- 2016 Global Fairness Initiative Award
- 2017 Vanguard Award,
- 2017 Howard University
- 2017 Women’s Economic Empowerment Award from WEConnect
- 2017 Madeleine Albright Global Development Award by the Aspen Institute
Dr. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala’s net worth estimates have not been made known to the public. Even though Ngozi Okonji Iweala’s net worth is unknown. From her records and reputable positions owned, one can deduce she is rich and not your average woman.
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