Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is a Nigerian-American economist and international development expert backing a Phd degree. She sits on the board of Standard Chartered Bank, Twitter, Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization, and the African Risk Capacity (ARC). She was just appointed as Director-General of the World Trade Organization and she will become the first woman and the first African to hold that office.
She spent 25 years at the World Bank as a development economist, scaling the ranks to the Number 2 position of Managing Director, Operations between 2007 and 2011. She also served two terms as Finance Minister of Nigeria in (2003–2006, 2011–2015) under President Olusegun Obasanjo and President Goodluck Jonathan respectively. She was actually the first woman to serve as the country’s finance minister that year and also the first woman to serve in that office twice and the only finance minister to have served under two different presidents. Furthermore, In 2005, Euromoney named her global finance minister of the year.
She was actually raised by her grandmother because her parents were abroad then when she was finally reunited with her parents, she loved them dearly.
At a tender age she always wanted her father’s attention and this created a craving for attention.
Ngozi’s father was a lecturer at the University of Ibadan and a mathematical economist who was then working on his paper and wouldn’t want any form of disturbance.
One day we were told he picked a book off his shelf and gave his daughter(Ngozi) to read the 1st chapter that he would ask her questions later and so she happily did read it and was happy she got her father’s attention.
This book given to her by her father turned out to be a book on “ECONOMICS”, it was a very boring book but she still read it and right there promised herself NEVER to read “ECONOMICS”.
Well in a few years time at the age of 18, Ngozi had already passed her entrance exams into both Cambridge and Harvard but Cambridge was her first choice institution.
She actually wanted Cambridge because she wanted to study “GEOGRAPHY” alongside her godmother who was lobbying for her to come to Cambridge and stay with her but something happened, her mother had just gained admission into a university in Boston to do her Ph.D. and Ngozi being a young teenager had to stay with her mum.
Because she moved to Boston, she had to go to “HARVARD” which was in Boston, so she could stay close to her mum.
At Harvard, she was disappointed because they didn’t offer her favourite subject “GEOGRAPHY” but the only subject close to it was “ECONOMICS”. She had to study “ECONOMICS”, a course she had sworn never to read.
Forbes had called her the “Accidental Economist”. Today she is one of the 5 Top Economist in the world and may soon become number 1 in no time.
Today she is a board member of more than 20 organizations globally and have received more than 20 awards on international levels as well as more than 14 honorary degrees from Europe’s top universities. She is indeed a living model to be celebrated by Nigerians.