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Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Former Finance and Foreign Minister of Nigeria; Former Managing Director World Bank; Former Chair of Gavi the Vaccine Alliance and African Union and WHO Envoy on COVID-19

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

Former Finance and Foreign Minister of Nigeria; Former Managing Director World Bank; Former Chair of Gavi the Vaccine Alliance and African Union and WHO Envoy on COVID-19

Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is an economist and international development expert with over 30 years of experience. She is Co-Chair of The Global Commission on the Economy and Climate. She also sits on the Boards of Standard Chartered PLC and Twitter Inc. She was Chair of the Board of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance (2016 – 2020) and of the African Risk Capacity, ARC (2014 – 2020). Previously, she served as Senior Advisor at Lazard from September 2015 – October 2019. Dr Okonjo-Iweala was recently appointed as AU COVID-19 Special Envoy (Finance) and WHO COVID-19 Special Envoy (ACT-Accelerator). She is the Director General designate of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

Dr Okonjo-Iweala served twice as Nigeria’s Finance Minister, from 2003-2006, 2011-2015, and briefly as Foreign Minister, the first woman to hold both positions. She spent a 25-year career at the World Bank as a development economist working on economic development programs and policy reforms including trade policy in middle and low-income countries. She rose to the No.2 position of Managing Director at the World Bank, overseeing an $81 billion operational portfolio in Africa, South Asia, Europe and Central Asia.

Dr Okonjo-Iweala was named Forbes African of the Year (2020), Minister of the Decade, People’s Choice Award (2020) by Nigeria’s This Day newspaper. She also received the International Service Award of the World Affairs Councils of America (2020) as well as the Aminu Kano Award for Leadership (2020). In 2019, she was named one of Transparency International’s 8 Female Anti-Corruption Fighters Who Inspire. She has been ranked by Fortune as one of the 50 Greatest World Leaders in 2015, by Forbes as one of the Top 100 Most Powerful Women in the World consecutively for four years, by Time as one of the Top 100 Most Influential People in the World in 2014, and by the UK Guardian as one of the Top 100 Women in the World in 2011.

Dr Okonjo-Iweala holds a Bachelor’s in Economics from Harvard University and a PhD in Regional Economics and Development from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She is an Angelopoulos Global Public Leader at Harvard University Kennedy School, a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and has received sixteen honorary degrees, including from Yale University, the University of Pennsylvania, Brown University, Tel Aviv University and Trinity College, Dublin. She is the author of numerous articles on finance and development, and several books including Women and Leadership - Real Lives, Real Lessons co-authored with Julia Gillard (Penguin Random House, 2020) Fighting Corruption is Dangerous: The Story Behind the Headlines (MIT Press, 2018) and Reforming the Unreformable: Lessons from Nigeria (MIT Press, 2012), The Debt Trap in Nigeria co-ed with Charles Soludo and Mansour Muhtar (Africa World Press, 2003).