35 Facts About Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala


Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is a Nigerian economist, who has been serving as the Director-General of the World Trade Organization since March 2021.


Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala sits on boards of: Danone, Standard Chartered Bank, MINDS: Mandela Institute for Development Studies, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security, One Campaign, GAVI: Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization, Rockefeller Foundation, R4D: Results for Development, ARC: African Risk Capacity and Earthshot Prize plus others.


Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala previously sat on the Twitter Board of Directors, and stepped down in February, 2021 in connection with her appointment as Director General of the World Trade Organization.


Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is a Commissioner Emeritus and Co-Chair of Global Commission on the Economy and Climate.


Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala was the first Nigerian woman to serve two terms as Finance Minister of Nigeria; initially, under President Olusegun Obasanjo from 2003 to 2006; and secondly, under President Goodluck Jonathan from 2011 to 2015.


Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala was born in Ogwashi-Ukwu, Delta State, Nigeria, where her father, Professor Chukwuka Okonjo, was the Obi of the Obahai royal family of Ogwashi-Ukwu in Nigeria.


Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala was educated at Queen's School, Enugu; St Anne's School, Molete, Ibadan, Oyo State; and the International School Ibadan.


Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala arrived in the US in 1973 to study at Harvard University and graduated with an AB in Economics in 1976.


Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala earned a master's degree in city planning in 1978 and her PhD in regional economics and development in 1981 from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with the thesis Credit policy, rural financial markets, and Nigeria's agricultural development.


Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala received an international fellowship from the American Association of University Women, which supported her doctoral studies.


Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala had a 25-year career at the World Bank in Washington, DC, as a development economist and rose to the No 2 position of Managing Director, Operations.


Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala served twice as Nigeria's Finance Minister and briefly acted as Foreign Minister in 2006.


Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala was the first woman to hold both positions.


Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala introduced the practice of publishing the federal, state, and local government shares of revenue from the country's federal account.


Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala returned to the World Bank as a Managing Director in December 2007.


In 2011, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala was re-appointed as Minister of Finance in Nigeria with the expanded portfolio of the Coordinating Minister for the Economy by President Goodluck Jonathan.


Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala's legacy includes strengthening the country's public financial systems and stimulating the housing sector with the establishment of the Nigerian Mortgage Refinance Corporation in 2013.


Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala empowered women and youth with the Growing Girls and Women in Nigeria Programme, a gender-responsive budgeting system, and the highly acclaimed Youth Enterprise with Innovation Programme ; to support entrepreneurs, that created thousands of jobs.


Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala was a member of the International Monetary and Finance Committee of the IMF and the United Nations' Secretary-General's High-Level Panel on the Post-2015 Development Agenda.


Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala co-chaired the Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation with UK Secretary Justine Greening.


Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala served as Chair of the Board of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.


Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is the founder of Nigeria's first indigenous opinion-research organization, NOI-Polls.


Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala founded the Centre for the Study of the Economies of Africa, a development research think-tank based in Abuja, and is a Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Center for Global Development and the Brookings Institution.


Since 2019, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has been part of UNESCO's International Commission on the Futures of Education, chaired by Sahle-Work Zewde.


Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala began her career as Director General of the WTO on 1 March 2021.


In early 2021, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala was appointed as co-chair, alongside Tharman Shanmugaratnam and Lawrence Summers, of the G20 High Level Independent Panel on financing the global commons for pandemic preparedness and response and was one of the founders of the COVAX Facility, designed to get affordable vaccines to Low and Middle-Income Countries.


In January 2022, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala joined The Group of thirty, an independent body of distinguished policymakers from around the world.


Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is married to Ikemba Iweala, a neurosurgeon from Umuahia, Abia State, Nigeria.


Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala was listed among 73 "brilliant" business influencers in the world by Conde Nast International.


In 2019, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.


Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala was conferred High National Honours from the Republic of Cote d'Ivoire and the Republic of Liberia.


Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala was the recipient of Nigeria's second highest national honor Grand Commander of the Order of the Niger and Nigeria's third highest National Honors Commander of the Federal Republic.


Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala received the Grand Cross of the Order of Rio Branco from the Federative Republic of Brazil in 2023.


Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has received honorary Doctorate Degrees from 19 universities worldwide, including some from the most prestigious colleges:.


Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has received degrees from a host of Nigerian universities including Abia State University, Delta State University, Abraka, Oduduwa University, Babcock University, and the Universities of Port Harcourt, Calabar, and Ife.