Who is Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala? The first Nigerian and African to lead WTO

2021-08-10 21:48:12
Who is Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala? The first Nigerian and African to lead WTO

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is a Nigerian economist, trade expert, environmental advocate, human welfare champion, and global development expert who was born in June 13, 1954.

She arrived in the US in 1973 as a teenager to study at Harvard University and graduated with a bachelor's degree in Economics in 1976. In 1981, she earned her PhD in regional economics and development from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

In March, Okonjo-Iweala became the first woman and first African director-general of the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Since the WTO director-general role holds few executive powers, some analysts question Okonjo-Iweala's ability to revive the body in the face of so many challenges including persistent US-China trade tensions and growing protectionism heightened by the pandemic.

Before heading the WTO, she worked 25 years at the World Bank in Washington, DC, as a development economist and rose to the second highest position of managing director.

She studied development economics at Harvard University after experiencing civil war in Nigeria as a teenager.

She returned to the West African nation country in 2003. She served two terms as Nigeria’s finance minister; initially, under President Olusegun Obasanjo from 2003 to 2006; and secondly, under President Goodluck Jonathan from 2011 to 2015.

Subsequently, from June to August 2006, she served as Nigeria’s foreign minister.


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