As the first female Finance Minister in Nigeria, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala attacks corruption to make the country more desirable for investment and jobs. As a managing director of the World Bank, she worked for change in all of Africa.
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, a director of the World Bank, was Nigeria’s Finance Minister and then briefly Foreign Affairs Minister from 2003 to 2006, the first woman to hold either position. In 2011, she was again named Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister for the Economy. Between those terms, from 2007 to 2011 she was a managing director of the World Bank.
During her two stints as Finance Minister, she has worked to combat corruption, make Nigeria’s finances more transparent, and institute reforms to make the nation’s economy more hospitable to foreign investment. The government unlinked its budget from the price of oil, its main export, to lessen perennial cash flow crises, and got oil companies to publish how much they pay the government.
Since 2003 — when watchdog group Transparency International rated Nigeria “the most corrupt place on Earth” — the nation has made headway recovering stolen assets and jailing hundreds of people engaged in international Internet 419 scams.
“Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is a heroine not just of Nigeria, but of the entire continent. Her crusade against corruption has put her life at risk.” — The Independent (UK)
Watch her in this March 2007 TEDx talk if you are an investor, business person, tourist or someone just interested in Africa.
Oral Ofori is Founder and Publisher at www.TheAfricanDream.net, a digital storyteller and producer, and also an information and research consultant.