Time and again, she proves that she knows her onions – and the world listens. Nigeria’s Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has been listed among the 50 greatest leaders in the world by the globally-acclaimed, American Fortune Magazine. This is a list that is reportedly made up of
Time and again, she proves that she knows her onions – and the world listens. Nigeria’s Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has been listed among the 50 greatest leaders in the world by the globally-acclaimed, American Fortune Magazine. This is a list that is reportedly made up of ¬extraordinary men and women are transforming business, govern¬ment, philanthropy, and so much more.
Receiving the prestigious annual recognition alongside other world leaders, Dr. Okonjo-Iweala was described thus: “A magna cum laude Harvard grad who holds a Ph.D. from MIT, Okonjo-Iweala has helped usher in a GDP-trebling decade of Nigerian prosperity. “She is a fearless promoter of sound economic policies,” says Witney Schneidman, a former deputy assistant secretary of state for African affairs. No wonder Nigeria’s two-term finance minister—and first woman in the role— has been considered a top contender to run the World Bank one day.”
The renowned economist and two-time Finance Minister of Nigeria was a hair’s breath away from becoming the World Bank president in 2011, when she not surprisingly, lost the bid to US nominee, Jim Yong Kim. Prior to that and interspersed by her national appointments, she had served in the global apex bank as a Vice President and corporate secretary, and later as a Managing Director in 2007.
Being on the power list was no mean feat indeed. “It was not enough to be brilliant, admirable or even supremely powerful, but to find singular leaders with vision who moved others to act as well, and who brought their followers with them on a shared quest. We looked out for effectiveness and commitment and for the courage to pioneer”, reads a statement by the magazine. It further stated that it had consulted more than 24 world leaders, who adjudged the honorees from their professional domains, industries or governance as worthy of the recognition.
Mrs. Okojo-Iweala graduated from Harvard University in 1976. She holds a Ph.D in Development Economics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She is a fellow at the Brookings Institution. As Finance minister, she helped to lay a solid foundation for the Nigerian economy, which is currently the biggest in Africa at $510 billion. Under her watch, the Federal government launched the YOUWIN scheme and a host of other initiatives to boost entrepreneurship among Nigeria’s teeming youth population.
Ironically though, this iconic woman has been under stiff criticism by the citizenry over her role in the Nigerian economy, which is presently in the throes of its worst crises as a result of sliding oil price, with the Naira devalued by more than eight per cent after the government apparently mismanaged oil savings.
Other world leaders that made the list include: Pope Francis, Apple CEO Tim Cook, billionaire Bill and Melinda Gates, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, Liberian President Ellen Sirleaf-Johnson, China President Xi Jinping, Zimbabwean activist Beatrice Mtetwa, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, Ghana’s Patrick Awuah, and General Motors CEO Mary Barra among others.