Ngozi Okonjo Iweala

According to Diane Mariechild, “A woman is the full circle. Within her is the power to create, nurture and transform.” Is this statement a fact or a fiction?

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is an economist, fair trade leader, human welfare personnel, sustainable finance, and global development, expert. She was born on 13th June 1954 in Ogwashi Ukwu, Delta state, Nigeria. She attended Queen’s School, Enugu, St. Anne’s School, Molete, Ibadan, and The International School, Ibadan, Nigeria. In 1973, she moved to the United States of America where she became a graduate of Economics at Harvard University.

Okonjo-Iweala had a 25-year career at the World Bank in Washington DC as a development economist and rose to the second position (Managing Director). She also served twice as Nigeria’s Finance minister and as Minister of Foreign Affairs, becoming the first woman to hold both positions. In 2006, Ngozi was instrumental in helping Nigeria obtain her first-ever sovereign credit rating (of BB minus) from Fitch Ratings and Standard & Poors.

In June 2020, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala was announced by Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari as the country’s candidate to be the Director-General of the World Trade Organization. She later advanced to the election’s final round where she competed with the Republic of Korea’s trade minister Yoo Myung-hee. The latter eventually withdrew her candidacy, giving room for Okonjo-Iweala to be unanimously appointed as the next Director-General of the WTO on 15th February 2021. She resumed office on 1st March 2021, becoming the first woman and African to hold the position.

The two lessons which can be derived from Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala’s life are as follows:

First, she is strong-willed: During her campaign for the position of the Director-General of the WTO, she did not receive the backing of the United States (one of the most powerful countries in the world) until deep into her campaign, yet she was firm and believed that she was the best candidate for the position which she now holds.

Secondly, she is a mastermind: During her stints in public offices in Nigeria, she spearheaded many operations, including the negotiations with the Paris club that led to the wiping out of $30 billion of Nigeria’s debt. She also strengthened the country’s financial systems and stimulated the housing sector.

Today, she is married to Ikemba Iweala, a family medicine physician from Abia state, and the union is blessed with four children, including author Uzodinma Iweala. During her campaign to become the next Director-General of the WTO, it was revealed that she became a US citizen in 2019 after spending several decades working and studying there. So it is safe to say that she is a Nigerian-American. According to a web source, her net worth is approximately $1.5 million.

Cheers to a living legend shining her light so brightly and truly impacting her world. Je t’aime mon ami🤗!

Author: Joshua Fabiyi

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