Director General, World Trade Organisation (WTO)
Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is a global finance expert, an economist and international development professional with over 30 years of experience working in Asia, Africa, Europe, Latin America and North America.
Currently, Dr Okonjo-Iweala is the Director-General at World Trade Organization [WTO] and the immediate past Chair of the Board of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. She also sits on the Boards of Standard Chartered PLC and Twitter Inc.
She is a skilled negotiator and has brokered numerous agreements, which have produced win-win outcomes in negotiations. She is regarded as an effective consensus builder and an honest broker enjoying the trust and confidence of governments and other stakeholders.
Previously, Dr. Okonjo-Iweala twice served as Nigeria’s Finance Minister (2003-2006 and 2011-2015) and briefly acted as Foreign Minister in 2006, the first woman to hold both positions. She distinguished herself by carrying out major reforms which improved the effectiveness of these two Ministries and the functioning of the government machinery. She had a 25-year career at the World Bank as a development economist, rising to the No. 2 position of Managing Director, Operations. As a development economist and Finance Minister, Dr Okonjo-Iweala steered her country through various reforms ranging from macroeconomic to trade, financial and real sector issues.
She is renowned as the first female and African candidate to contest for the presidency of the World Bank Group in 2012, backed by Africa and major developing countries in the first truly contestable race for the world’s highest development finance post. As Managing Director of the World Bank, she had oversight responsibility for the World Bank’s $81 billion operational portfolio in Africa, South Asia, Europe and Central Asia. Dr Okonjo-Iweala spearheaded several World Bank initiatives to assist low-income countries during the 2008-2009 food crisis and later during the financial crisis. In 2010, she was Chair of the World Bank’s successful drive to raise $49.3 billion in grants and low interest credit for the poorest countries in the world.
Dr Okonjo-Iweala is a recipient of numerous global awards and recognitions, the most recent being listed as African of the Year (Forbes, 2021), Minister of the Decade, People’s Choice Award by Nigeria’s This Day newspaper (2020), one of Transparency International’s 8 Female Anti-Corruption Fighters Who Inspire (2019), one of the 50 Greatest World Leaders (Fortune, 2015), the Top 100 Most Influential People in the World (TIME, 2014) and many others