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Nigeria’s Okonjo-Iweala becomes World Bank MD

World Bank President, Robert Zoellick, on Thursday October 4th, announced the appointment of Nigeria’s Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala as the Bank’s Managing Director.

Making the announcement, Zoellick said: “Ngozi brings a unique set of skills and experience to the World Bank Group as an outstanding Minister of Finance and Foreign Minister in Nigeria.” Her appointment is effective December 1st.

Zoellick said Okonjo-Iweala also helped to lead Nigeria’s reform programme on issues of fiscal prudence, transparency of government accounts, good governance, and anti-corruption’.

“She led Nigeria’s quest for debt relief and helped her country obtain an unprecedented $18 billion write-off from the Paris Club.”

The World Bank President said Okonjo-Iweala, who joined the World Bank in 1982 was also instrumental in helping Nigeria obtain its first-ever Sovereign Credit rating (of BB minus) from Fitch and Standard & Poor’s’.

“She is an internationally respected world leader,” Zoellick said, adding she also knew the World Bank Group (WBG) well from her 21 years of service.

“Her commitment to the developing world is unparalleled. I am delighted she has accepted to join my senior team.”

In her new position, Okonjo-Iweala would have responsibility for the World Bank’s Africa, South Asia, and Europe and Central Asia Regions.

She would also have oversight responsibility for Human Resources.

Accepting the appointment, Okonjo-Iweala said: “I am delighted to be coming back, and I welcome the opportunity to work through this great institution to make a difference in the lives of our youth and our hardworking men and women in the developing world.

“I particularly look forward to working with President Zoellick as he maps out exciting new paths for the World Bank Group.”

Okonjo-Iweala is founder of NOI-Gallup polls, an indigenous Nigerian opinion research organisation and co-founder of the Makeda Fund, which is a fund to invest in African women entrepreneurs.

She is currently a Fellow at the Brookings Institution.

She served as Nigeria’s finance minister between 2003 and 2006 and also Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Okonjo-Iweala has served in a number of important positions at the World Bank including Vice President and Corporate Secretary, Director of Operations in the Middle East and North Africa region.

She was also a Country Director for the South East Asia and Mongolia Country unit.

Okonjo-Iweala is a recipient of numerous awards and honours including Time Magazine European Hero 2004, Euromoney Magazine Global Finance Minister of the year 2005 and Financial Times/The Banker African Finance Minister of the year 2005.

Others are ThisDay Nigeria Minister of the Year 2004, 2005, Honorary Doctorate of Laws from Colby College 2007 and Brown University 2006 and Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters, Northern Caribbean University, Jamaica.

She is a member or chair of numerous boards and advisory groups in the public, private and non-governmental sectors, including DATA, the World Resources Institute and the Clinton Global Initiative.

She is also a member of the Nelson Mandela Institution and the African Institute of Science and Technology, the Mo Ibrahim Foundation Governance Prize Committee and Friends of the Global Fund Africa.

Okonjo-Iweala is an adviser to the World Bank on the Stolen Assets Recovery (STAR) initiative.

Okonjo-Iweala graduated with an A.B. magna cum laude in Economics from Harvard University and holds a Ph.D in Regional Economics and Development from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.


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