Smart Girl Stories
Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala
Stories of inspiration from Smart Girl Stories across the globe. Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala: Nigerian American Economist

Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala: Nigerian American Economist

Dr. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala is a world-renowned economist and the first woman and African to serve as the Director General of the World Trade Organization. She is an inspiration to women everywhere, having broken through barriers in a male-dominated field. Okonjo Iweala is a passionate advocate for economic development and poverty alleviation. She has worked tirelessly to improve the lives of those in her home country of Nigeria and around the world. Okonjo Iweala is a role model for women of all ages, proving that anything is possible with hard work and determination.

Early Life

Ngozi Okonjo Iweala was born on the 13th of June 1954 in Delta State, Nigeria. Her father was a king of a royal family. After completing her high school education, she went to study at Harvard University where she graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics in 1976.

In 1978 she went on to study for her master’s at MIT where she graduated with MSc in city planning and got her Ph.D. from the same university in 1981.

Dr. Ngozi Okonjo IwealaHer Thriving Career in Economics

Okonjo had a 25-year career at the world bank in Washington DC as a managing director, Operations. She has had responsibility for the World Bank billion dollar portfolio in Africa, South Asia, Europe, and Central Asia. She has also spearheaded several world bank financial and social initiatives for impoverished countries.

Working in Government

In 2003-2006 and 2011-2015, Okonjo served as Nigeria’s Finance minister and Foreign Affairs Minister in 2006, becoming the first woman to hold such positions. She helped the Nigerian government get rid of a $ 30 billion debt, including the outright cancellation of US $ 18 billion.

Okonjo was instrumental in helping Nigeria obtain its first-ever sovereign credit rating from Fitch Ratings and S&P in 2006. She also promoted transparency in governance at all levels of government. In 2020 Okonjo was appointed by the African Union as a special envoy to solicit international support to help deal with the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Also in 2020, Ngozi was nominated by the Nigerian president as the country’s candidate to be director general of the World Trade Organization and even got the backing of the United States. In 2021 Ngozi was appointed the Director General of the WTO, becoming the first woman and African to lead WTO.

Dr. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala – Empowering Women

She empowered girls and women by forming a gender-responsive budgeting system and other enterprises to help entrepreneurial women and girls get support and jobs. Her work with various organizations is an inspiration to women everywhere. It is easy to see why we chose Okonjo as today’s Smart Girl.

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