Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

Born: 13th June 1954

Birth Place: Nigeria

Known for: Economist, International Development Professor, and Politician.

Okonjo-Iweala is the Director-General of the World Trade Organisation.

While Okonjo-Iweala was Finance Minister, she was responsible for cancelling billions of dollars of Nigeria’s debt.

Okonjo-Iweala also serves on Twitter's board of directors, as chair of the GAVI vaccine alliance and as a special envoy for the World Health Organisation's Covid-19 fight.

I believe that when you find problems, you should also find solutions.

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

Life story

Early Life


Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala was born in Delta State, Nigeria. Her father was an economics professor, which had an influence on her studies and her future careers. From her father’s influence, she became interested in economics and its impact on different areas. In 1976, she graduated with a degree in economics at Harvard University, before completing her PhD in regional economics in 1981, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). 




Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala worked at the World Bank for 25 years as a development economist, and eventually became Managing Director. While she was working at the World Bank, she led a lot of projects to assist countries that had low incomes during the 2008 financial and food crises. During this time, she was a member of committees that focused on the development of Africa. Whilst she was at the World Bank, she had oversight responsibility for the World Bank’s $81 billion operational portfolio in Africa, South Asia, Europe, and Central Asia. 


Okonjo-Iweala was the Finance Minister of Nigeria from 2003-2006 and 2011-2015, and was also Nigeria’s Minister of Foreign Affairs for a short time in 2006.  


Okonjo-Iweala has been voted one of the Fifty Greatest World Leaders (Fortune, 2015), one of the Top 100 Most Influential People in the World (TIME, 2014), one of the Top 100 Global Thinkers (Foreign Policy, 2011 and 2012), one of the Top 100 Most Powerful Women in the World (Forbes, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014), and one of the Top 3 Most Powerful Women in Africa (Forbes, 2012). She has been voted and recognised throughout the world for her work. 

On 1st March 2021, Okonjo-Iweala was appointed the Director-General of the World Trade Organisation. This makes her the first woman and the first African to hold the office.

Okonjo-Iweala has also written many articles and books.

Okonjo-Iweala is a part of the Obahai Royal family of her hometown, Ogwashi-Ukwu since her father, Professor Chukwuka Okonjo was the King!

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