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Home ✔Naija HB Special Who is Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala? Biography, Age, Family, all you need to know

Who is Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala? Biography, Age, Family, all you need to know

Have you ever wondered who the intelligent woman, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is? Well in this article, we will be telling you about Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala — her biography, age, career, family and other interesting facts.

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Mrs Ngozi is a great deal of inspiration to African women. Her achievements in her chosen career is a rare one among women in Africa.

As a matter of fact, the level of success she has been able to attain is quite commendable.

If you want to know more about Ngozi, then this article is for you. Just continue reading to find out all you want to know.

Biography

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala was born in Ogwashi-Ukwu, Delta State, Nigeria. Born into the family of Chukwuka Okonjo and Kamene Okonjo.

Her father, Professor Chukwuka Okonjo is the Eze (Eze means King in Igbo dialect) from the Obahai Royal Family of Ogwashi-Ukwu.

Educational Background

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

She went to the US in 1973 as a teenager to study at Harvard University. She graduated with a Bachelors of Art in Economics in 1976. 

In 1981, she got her PhD in regional economics and development from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) with research titled “Credit policy, rural financial markets, and Nigeria’s agricultural development”.

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She received an International Fellowship from the American Association of University Women (AAUW), that supported her doctoral studies.

Age & Birthday; How old is Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

Ngozi Okonjo was born on the 13th of June 1954. So she is currently 66 .

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala husband and children

Mrs Ngozi is married to Dr Ikemba Iweala, a neurosurgeon.

Dr Ikemba I. Iweala is an emergency medicine physician in Washington DC. He has been in practice for more than 20 years. He is the chairman of the IKE Foundation for Autism. 

The couple has four children together – one daughter, Onyinye Iweala (AB, MD, PhD, Harvard).

Uzodinma Iweala, Okechukwu Iweala and Uchechi Iweala are the names of her other three male children.

See this post, ‘Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala’s family; Parents, Husband and children’ (Photos).

Career

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is an economist and international development expert.

Okonjo-Iweala had a 25-year career at the World Bank in Washington DC as a development economist, rising to the position of Managing Director.

In 2010, she was Chair of the IDA replenishment; the World Bank’s successful drive to raise $49.3 billion in grants and low-interest credit for the poorest countries in the world.

Okonjo-Iweala served twice as Nigeria’s Finance Minister and also as Minister of Foreign Affairs. She was the first female to hold both positions. 

After her first term as Minister of Finance, in December 2007 she returned to the World Bank as a Managing Director.

In 2011, she was re-appointed as Minister of Finance in Nigeria. She was also appointed the Coordinating Minister for the Economy by President Goodluck Jonathan.

She also empowered Nigeria’s women and youth with the Growing Girls and Women in Nigeria Programme (GWIN); a gender responsive budgeting system.

Furthermore, she proposed the highly acclaimed Youth Enterprise with Innovation programme (YouWIN).

The World Bank evaluated the YouWIN program as one of the most effective programmes of its kind globally.

She took a lot of heat for the fuel subsidy removal policy by the then Nigerian government under GEJ, an action that led to protests in January 2012.

The then opposition party used the subsidy removal as a campaign tool against her and the then government.

However, In May 2016, the new government eventually removed the fuel subsidy after it became apparent that it was unsustainable and inefficient.

After leaving government, Okonjo-Iweala became a member of the International Commission on Financing Global Education Opportunity from 2015-2016.

Afterward, she was appointed as a Managing Director of World Bank Group where she led several World Bank initiatives to assist low-income countries during food and financial crises.

Who is Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

Other Interesting facts about Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

She possesses dual citizenship; Nigeria and US. She is the author of several articles and books.

She sits on the Boards of Standard Chartered Bank; Twitter, Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI), and the African Risk Capacity (ARC).

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

She also founded the Center for the Study of Economies of Africa (C-SEA); a development research think tank based in Abuja, Nigeria.

In 2012, she was a candidate for President of the World Bank, running against President Jim Yong Kim of Dartmouth College.

In January 2016, she was appointed the Chair-elect of the Gavi Board of the World Health Organization.

Since 2019, Okonjo-Iweala has been part of UNESCO’s International Commission on the Futures of Education.

In 2020, the International Monetary Fund’s Managing Director, Kristalina Georgieva appointed her as an external advisory group to provide input on policy challenges.

Also in 2020, the African Union (AU) selected her as special envoy to request international support to assist the continent deal with the economic repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic.

World Trade Organization (WTO) president

In June 2020, the President of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, nominated her as the country’s candidate to be the director-general of the World Trade Organization (WTO).

She later advanced to the election’s final round, eventually competing with Yoo Myung-hee.

Ahead of the vote, she received the full support of the European Union for her candidacy.

Although the United States did not give her their support, The WTO in its formal report said Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala “clearly carried the largest support by Members in the final round; and, enjoyed broad support from Members from all levels of development and from all geographic regions and has done so throughout the process”.

If Dr. Okonjo-Iweala succeeds, she would be the first woman and first African to lead the WTO.

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

Awards

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has received many recognitions and awards. Here is a list of the awards she has received:

She was conferred High National Honours from the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire and the Republic of Liberia.

She is also the recipient of Nigeria’s Commander of the Federal Republic (CFR). Other honors include:

  • She has been listed as one of the 50 Greatest World Leaders (Fortune, 2015).
  • Was also listed among the Top 100 Most Influential People in the World (TIME, 2014).
  • Top 100 Global Thinkers (Foreign Policy, 2011, and 2012).
  • Forbes listed her among the Top 100 Most Powerful Women in the World (Forbes, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014).
  • Top 3 Most Powerful Women in Africa (Forbes, 2012).
  • The Top 10 Most Influential Women in Africa (Forbes, 2011).
  • Also among the Top 100 Women in the World (The Guardian, 2011).
  • Listed among the Top 150 Women in the World (Newsweek, 2011).
  • Top 100 most inspiring people in the World Delivering for Girls and Women (Women Deliver, 2011).
  • Condé Nast International listed her among 73 “brilliant” business influencers in the world.

Other Awards include

  • 2017 Vanguard Award, (Howard University).
  • The 2017 Women’s Economic Empowerment Award, (WEConnect International).
  • Also, 2017 Madeleine K. Albright Global Development Award, (Aspen Institute).
  • 2016 Power with Purpose Award, (Devex Development Communications Network).
  • Also the 2016 Global Fairness Award, (Global Fairness Initiative).
  • 2014 David Rockefeller Bridging Leadership Award.
  • 2011 Global Leadership Award, (Chicago Council on Global Affairs).
  • 2010 Global Leadership Award, (Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs).
  • 2010 Bishop John T. Walker Distinguished Humanitarian Service Award
  • 2004 TIME’s European Heroes Award.
  • Also the 2004 Finance Minister of the Year, (Africa Investor Magazine).
  • Moreover, in 2004 she won the Finance Minister of the Year for Africa and the Middle East, (The Banker).
  • 2005 Global Finance Minister of the Year, (Euromoney).
  • Also in 2005, Finance Minister of the Year for Africa and the Middle East, Emerging Markets Magazine.

Honorary Degrees

Okonjo-Iweala has received honorary degrees from 14 universities worldwide, including some from the most prestigious colleges. They include:

  • the University of Pennsylvania (2013).
  • Yale University (2015).
  • Amherst College (2009).
  • Trinity College.
  • Dublin (2007)
  • Brown University (2006).
  • Colby College (2007).
  • and Northern Caribbean University, Jamaica.

She has also received degrees from a host of Nigerian universities including:

Abia State University; Delta State University, Oduduwa University; Babcock University, and the Universities of Calabar, Port Harcourt, and Obafemi Awolowo University.

Furthermore, in 2019, Okonjo Iweala was awarded an honorary degree from Tel Aviv University.

Some of her books include:

  • Fighting Corruption is Dangerous: The story behind the headlines.
  • Reforming the unreformable: lessons from Nigeria.
  • Shine a Light on the Gaps – an essay on financial inclusion for African Small Holder Farmers. co-authored with Janeen Madan.

In addition to the works mentioned above, other of her works includes:

  • Want to Help Africa? Do Business Here – A Ted Talk delivered March 2007.
  • Aid Versus Trade – A Ted Talk delivered June 2007.
  • Don’t Trivialise Corruption, Tackle It – A Tedx Euston Talk delivered January 2013

Summary of Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala’s profile

Name: Ngozi Okon-Iweala
Birthday/Age:
13th of June 1954. currently 66 years old.
Marital Status:
Married
Spouse: Ikemba Iweala
children:
Four children; a female and three males
Nationality:
Dual citizenship; Nigeria and USA
Religion
: Christian

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