Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is a globally renowned Nigerian economist best known for her two terms as Finance Minister of Nigeria and for her work at the World Bank, including several years as one of its Managing Directors (October 2007–July 2011). She briefly held the position of Foreign Affairs Minister of Nigeria in 2006.
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala was educated at Harvard University, graduating magna cum laude with an A.B. in 1977, and earned her Ph.D. in regional economic development from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1981.
Prior to her ministerial career in Nigeria, Okonjo-Iweala was vice-president and corporate secretary of the World Bank Group. She left in 2003 after she was appointed to President Obasanjo’s cabinet as Finance Minister on 15 July, 2003. On October 4, 2007, World Bank President Robert Zoellick appointed her to the post of Managing Director, effective December 1, 2007.
In 2007, Okonjo-Iweala’s company NOI Global Consulting,partnered with the Gallup Organization to introduce an opinion polling and research organisation, the NOI Polls Limited, into the Nigerian polity.
In 2011, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala was reappointed as Minister of Finance with the expanded portfolio of the Coordinating Minister for the Economy by President Goodluck Jonathan. It was from this position that she contested the presidency of the World Bank. She received support for her ultimately unsuccessful campaign from a number of former World Bank employees and from publications including The Economist, Financial Times and Newsweek, which said “If competition follows normal process, Kim stands no chance against Ngozi Okonjo Iweala.” In her role as the Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance under the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan, she introduced influential reforms which shaped the direction and positively impacted the Federal Government Economic team and the transformation agenda.
She is a fellow at the Brookings Institution and was recently awarded an honorary Doctorate Degree of Human Letters, by the prestigious Yale University in the USA. Okonjo-Iweala also serves on the Advisory Board of Global Financial Integrity and on the Board of Directors of the World Resources Institute.