The news on the appointment and confirmation of Dr Ngozi Okonjo Iweala as the new Director General of the World Trade Organisation has brought much jubilations to Nigerians home and abroad, inviting sweeping headlines across media platforms.
Beyond being a former finance minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Quillcastle Nigeria presents other striking things on background, career and family life you should know about the new Director General.
- The new Director General of the World Trade Organisation is a Nigerian-American economist and international development expert.
- Far before her appointment, the 67 year old development expert sits on the Boards of Standard Chartered Bank, Twitter, Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI), and the African Risk Capacity (ARC).
- With her new appointment as the Director-General of the World Trade Organization, she is expected to commence her term on March 1, 2021, becoming the first woman and the first African to have the job.
- Dr Okonjo-Iweala spent a 25-year career at the World Bank as a development economist, scaling the ranks to the Number 2 position of Managing Director, Operations (2007–2011).
- Okonjo was the first woman to become Finance Minister of Nigeria, and first woman to serve in that office twice (2003-2006, 2011-2015) under President Olusegun Obasanjo and President Goodluck Jonathan respectively.
- In 2005, Ngozi was named global finance minister of the year by Euromoney.
- Okonjo-Iweala was born in Ogwashi-Ukwu, Delta State, Nigeria where her father Professor Chukwuka Okonjo was the Obi (King) from the Obahai Royal Family of Ogwashi-Ukwu.
- She is married to Ikemba Iweala, a neurosurgeon. They have four children – one daughter, Onyinye Iweala (AB, MD, PhD, Harvard) and three sons, Uzodinma Iweala (AB, Harvard, MD, Columbia), Okechukwu Iweala (AB, Harvard) and Uchechi Iweala (AB, MD, MBA, Harvard).
- During her campaign to become the next Director General of the WTO, it was revealed that Okonjo-Iweala became a US citizen in 2019 after spending several decades working and studying in there.
- Okonjo-Iweala was educated at Queen’s School, Enugu, St. Anne’s School, Molete, Ibadan, and the International School Ibadan.
- She arrived in the US in 1973 as a teenager to study at Harvard University, graduating magna cum laude with an AB in Economics in 1976.
- In 1981, she earned her PhD in regional economics and development from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) with a thesis titled Credit policy, rural financial markets, and Nigeria’s agricultural development.
- She received an international fellowship from the American Association of University Women (AAUW), that supported her doctoral studies.