Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala
Finance Minister of Nigeria
Incumbent
Assumed office
July 2011
Preceded by Olusegun Olutoyin Aganga
Foreign Minister of Nigeria
In office
June 2006 – August 3, 2006
Finance Minister of Nigeria
In office
July 2003 – June 2006
Succeeded by Nenadi Usman
Personal details
Born June 13, 1954 (1954-06-13) (age 57)
Delta State, Nigeria
Alma mater Harvard University, MIT

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala (born June 13, 1954) was appointed in July 2011 as Nigeria's “de facto prime minister” and the new Minister of Finance for the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Prior to this appointment, she was the Managing Director of World Bank (October 2007 - July 2011) and has also held the position of a Finance Minister and Foreign Minister of Nigeria, between 2003 and 2006. She is notable for being the first woman to hold either of those positions. She served as finance minister from July 2003 until her appointment as foreign minister in June 2006, and as foreign minister until her resignation in August 2006. Okonjo-Iweala was considered as a possible replacement for former World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz.[1][2]

Contents

Education and personal life

Okonjo-Iweala is an Igbo[3] from Ogwashi-Uku, Delta State where her father Professor Chukuka Okonjo is the Obi, or King, from the Umu Obi Obahai Royal Family of Ogwashi-Ukwu.

Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala was educated at Harvard University, graduating magna cum laude with an A.B. in 1977, and earned her Ph.D. in urban and regional planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). She is married to her husband Ikemba Iweala from Umuahia, Abia State[4] - and they have four children. The eldest, Onyinye Iweala received her Ph.D. in Experimental Pathology from Harvard University in 2008 and graduated Harvard Medical School in 2010. Her son, Uzodinma Iweala, is the author of the critically acclaimed novel Beasts of No Nation (2005).'

Career

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, at the 2004 Spring Meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank Group

Prior to her ministerial career in Nigeria, Okonjo-Iweala was vice-president and corporate secretary of the World Bank Group. She left it in 2003 after she was appointed to President Obasanjo's cabinet as Finance Minister on 15 July.

In October 2005, she led the Nigerian team that struck a deal with the Paris Club, a group of bilateral creditors, to pay a portion of Nigeria's external debt (US $12 billion) in return for an $18 billion debt write-off. Prior to the partial debt payment and write-off, Nigeria spent roughly US $1 billion every year on debt servicing, without making a dent in the principal owed. This action has subsequently generated serious controversies, both in the action itself and the alleged contracts Okonjo-Iweala funnelled to her brother. Not too long after the debt's payment, she was reassigned to the Foreign Affairs Ministry, a move perceived by many to be preparatory to an outright sack. Okonjo-Iweala read the writings on the wall and quickly threw in the towel by resigning from the Obasanjo administration, claiming she needed "... to take care of pressing family issues".[5]

Okonjo-Iweala also introduced the practice of publishing each state's monthly financial allocation from the federal government in the newspapers. She was instrumental in helping Nigeria obtain its first ever sovereign credit rating (of BB minus) from Fitch and Standard & Poor's. Nigeria is considered to have defaulted on its sovereign debt in 1983 (debt rescheduling is considered a type of default by rating agencies).[6]

Some controversy surrounded Okonjo-Iweala’s appointment as Finance Minister, and that of Foreign Affairs minister, Olu Adeniji, as other ministers were resentful of their United Nations salaries of over US$240,000, compared with their own $6,000 base salary. The controversy was spearheaded by reform-minded media reports, although Okonjo-Iweala felt that her critics were unjustified because of the temporary nature of the payment, which came out of the donor supported Diaspora Fund negotiated by the Nigerian government.[7] On Friday, 20 July 2007, the Court of Appeal ruled that the salary payment was not done within the ambit of Nigeria's laws, and directed her and Adeniji to pay back the excess to the account of the state.

Both Okonjo-Iweala and the Federal Government of Nigeria have appealed the case to the Supreme Court, and judgement is pending. The appeal is on the basis that the appeals court made its judgement due to erroneous information provided to it that the Nigerian government was making the salary payments, when in fact it was not.

She resigned as Nigeria's Foreign Minister on August 3, 2006 following her sudden removal as head of Nigeria's Economic Intelligence team by President Olusegun Obasanjo. She left office at the end of August 2006.

On October 4, 2007, World Bank President Robert Zoellick appointed her to the post of Managing Director, effective December 1, 2007.[8]

Given the recent challenges faced by Nigeria on how to manage the macroeconomic policy in such a way to achieve the country's vision 2020, it is actually debatable whether Okonjo Iweala is a Joshua who can actually lead the country to attain achieve her goal or an hatchet person who is serving other interests apart from that of the nation. During her confirmation as a Minister, she stressed the need to reduce the country's recurrent expenditure which is presently 74% of the National Budget and embark on capital projects which could improve the 14% unemployment rate in the country.[9] One of the conditions she gave to the incumbent president, Goodluck Jonathan, was an additional power to influence/exercise power over the economic team. This power include the appointment of credible and proven staff to head departments and ministries under her portfolio.

Non-profit work

In 2007, Okonjo-Iweala's NGO, NOI Global Consulting, partnered with the Gallup Organization to introduce an opinion poll, the NOI poll, into the Nigerian polity.[10] She is a fellow at the Brookings Institution.[11] Okonjo-Iweala also serves on the Advisory Board of Global Financial Integrity[12] and on the Board of Directors of the World Resources Institute.[13] Despite the pristine image that is being put across especially in the media by Ngozi Okonjo Iweala in a country where corrupt practices among public officials is a notorious reality, her records had taken a huge hit with the disclosures that she steered $50 million consultancy contracts to her brother without conforming with due process [14]

Honors and awards

  • Time Europe Hero 2004[8]
  • This Day Nigeria Minister of the Year 2004[8]
  • Euromoney Magazine Global Finance Minister of the year 2005[8]
  • Financial Times/The Banker African Finance Minister 2005[8]
  • Nigerian of the Year 2006.[15]
  • Honorary Doctorate from Brown University, Providence, RI, USA.
  • Honorary Doctorate from Trinity College, University of Dublin, Ireland.
  • Honorary Doctorate from Colby College, Maine, USA.
  • Honorary Doctorate from Northern Caribbean University, Mandeville, Jamaica.
  • Honorary Doctorate from Amherst College, Amherst, MA, USA.

Additionally, on September 28, 2007, Irish musician Bono was awarded the Liberty Medal. Bono donated the $100,000 prize to the Washington-based Debt AIDS Trade Africa, which he co-founded, and Okonjo-Iweala accepted the award on the organization's behalf.[16] Bono has been severely criticised for the purported works he is doing on behalf of African nations but which actual impacts are not being felt where they matter most.[17] Paul Theroux has correctly argued that (a) World Bank study has confirmed that the emigration to the West of skilled people from small to medium-sized countries in Africa has been disastrous and that it seems to have been Africa's fate to become a theater of empty talk and public gestures.[18]

Works

  • Chinua Achebe: Teacher of Light - a biography of Nigerian author Chinua Achebe, published by Africa World Press, (2003), co-authored with Tijan Sallah.
  • The Debt Trap in Nigeria: Towards a Sustainable Debt Strategy - an academic piece, published by Africa World Press, (2003), co-edited with Charles C. Soludo and Mansur Muhtar

Politics

Okonjo-Iweala has not expressed interest to contest political office in Nigeria in the current election circa 2011. However, from her vast expertise in World Economic circles and with a keen understanding of economic realities in developing countries (having served as a distinguished Minister in the Nigerian government), she has been vocal in her denunciation of the manner in which the country is currently accumulating huge debts.[19] Indeed the current presidential aspirants have been called upon to adopt or develop an Economic Action Plan that can be endorsed by notable economic experts like Okonjo-Iweala.[20]It is not easy to make the transition from being a political appointee to running for an actual political office in Nigeria. The appointments of Okonjo-Iweala by both the Obasanjo and Goodluck administrations did not stem from her intellectual prowess and managerial capabilities but rather as a means to an end; which basically is the unwritten understanding that as a political appointee, once she departs from the official government position regarding a policy, the other option is to resign from the government, which said option she opted for under the Obasanjo government. It is therefore curious that she would be unceremoniously transferred to the Foreign Affairs Ministry from the Ministry of Finance under the Obasanjo administration if her grasp of the nation's economic policies were sterling. It is widely believed that the appointments of Okonjo-Iweala and her likes are means to an end; that the satraps running the country would benefit from her well publicised connections, real or imagined, with the World Bank and its elements. That is why Okonjo-Iweala is seen as a pawn, both by the Nigerian overlords and her Western handlers such as the Brookings Institute et. al. The performance of Okonjo-Iweala therefore, which despite her much trumpeted foreign background in academic qualifications and professional experience working at the World Bank, has not displayed a proper understanding of the multivarious economic challenges facing the Nigerian society so far and there has been no real concrete workable policy capable of lifting the fiscal challenges of the country out of the woods apart from the effectless publications of revenues accruing to the various levels of government and working the talk-circuit. The effective management of the financial and economic resources of Nigeria needs more than these insignificant tweakings. The Ministry of Finance has not, under Okonjo-Iweala, come up with any credible model different from the tired IMF/World Bank panacea for developing nations. Her plattitudes upon resumption of office confirm these.[21] Her repeated hirings therefore have confirmed the suspicion that Nigerian politicians, clueless about and bereft of deep knowledge of modern economic thinking and the intellectual platform necessary for the application of autochtonous homegrown solutions to the peculiar problems of the nation, such as have been displayed by the BRIC nations, and desperate for credibility and legitimacy at all costs (as a result of the growing discontent from controversial electoral victories),[22] are fond of bringing foregin-based technocrats to head critical positions in the government as a means of acceptability to foreign governments. The final results are that these foreign-based professionals are out of tune with the realities of the economic policies required to jumpstart the economy of the country. Indeed, analysts have argued that it is inevitable that the policies these foreign-trained professionals would inevitably be against the general welfare and interests of the masses but favouring the western economies who would continue the hypocrisy of being seeing to be interested in African nations development but massively benefitting from the anti-people policies the likes of Okonjo-Iweala; Olusegun Aganga ex Finance Minister and currently the Minister for Trade and Investments (an ex-Goldman Sachs employee); Mustafa Chike-Obi Managing Director and CEO of Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria AMCON, another ex-Goldman Sachs employee, et.c would actively give support to and vigorously execute controversial policies like the agitation for the removal of the fuel subsidy; imposition of the Sovereign Wealth Fund currently tearing the Federal Government and the State Governments.[23] [24] It is also noteworthy that Okonjo-Iweala has perfected the art of treating lawful summons by the National Assembly, the legislature with disdain and scorn. It is therefore highly debatable whether Okonjo-Iweala would be acceptable to the polity if she were to contest any political office rather than the political appointments she has been enjoying right from the Obasanjo administration.

References

  1. ^ Wroughton, Lesley (2007-05-18). "INTERVIEW-Nigeria's Okonjo-Iweala for World Bank?". UK.Reuters.com (Reuters). http://uk.reuters.com/article/homepageCrisis/idUKN18413865._CH_.242020070518. Retrieved 2007-10-06. 
  2. ^ McKenna, Barrie (2007-05-17). "Washington negotiating Wolfowitz's exit". Globe and Mail (CTVglobemedia Publishing). http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20070517.wwolfowitz17/BNStory/International/home. Retrieved 2007-10-06. 
  3. ^ Nwobu, Lawrence Chinedu (2006-01-31). "Ohanaeze and the Igbo Leadership Question". BNW Magazine. http://magazine.biafranigeriaworld.com/lawrence_chinedu_nwobu/2006/01/31/ohanaeze_and_the_igbo_leadership_question.php. Retrieved 2007-10-06. 
  4. ^ Elendu, Jonathan (2007-08-06). "Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala: Tom or Joy". ElenduReports.com (Elendu Reports). http://elendureports.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=245&Itemid=33. Retrieved 2007-10-06. 
  5. ^ "On The Resignation of Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala From The Obasanjo Administration by Mobolaji E. Aluko, PhD". http://www.dawodu.com/aluko140.htm. Retrieved 2006-08-07. 
  6. ^ http://www.newyorkfed.org/research/current_issues/ci1-3.pdf
  7. ^ Paul Vallely (2006-05-16). "The woman who has the power to change Africa". The woman who has the power to change Africa (London: The Independent). http://news.independent.co.uk/world/africa/article484987.ece. Retrieved 2006-08-29. 
  8. ^ a b c d e "President Zoellick Appoints Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala as Managing Director, World Bank". Web.WorldBank.org (World Bank Group). 2007-10-04. http://go.worldbank.org/T0231Q5V70. Retrieved 2007-10-06. 
  9. ^ {{cite news |http://www.punchontheweb.com/Articl.aspx?theartic=Art201107073122146
  10. ^ Abiodun, Eromosele; Tumise Adekunle (2007-05-11). "Okonjo-Iweala Partners Gallup for Polling in Nigeria". Thisday online (Leaders & Company). http://www.thisdayonline.com/nview.php?id=77863. Retrieved 2007-10-07. 
  11. ^ "Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Former Nigerian Finance and Foreign Minister, Joins Brookings". Brookings Institution website. Brookings Institution. 2007-01-10. http://www.brook.edu/comm/news/20070110.htm. Retrieved 2007-10-07. 
  12. ^ "Advisory Board - Global Financial Integrity". http://www.gfintegrity.org/content/view/15/136/. Retrieved 2011-11-14. 
  13. ^ "WRI Elects Cadoso, Gore, Okonjo-Iweala and Thomas". World Resources Institute website. World Resources Institute. 2005-08-18. http://www.wri.org/newsroom/newsrelease_text.cfm?NewsReleaseID=335. Retrieved 2007-10-31. 
  14. ^ "Wikileaks: Okonjo-Iweala Ferried $50Million Jobs To Brother". 2011-09-09. http://saharareporters.com/news-page/wikileaks-okonjo-iweala-ferried-50-million-jobs-brother?page=3. 
  15. ^ Nworah, Uche (2006-11-28). "Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala Honoured As Nigerian Of The Year 2006". Nigeria Village Square. http://www.nigeriavillagesquare.com/uche-nworah/ngozi-okonjo-iweala-honoured-as-nigerian-of-the-year.html. Retrieved 2007-10-06. [dead link]
  16. ^ "Bono gets medal for his work in Africa". Associated Press via The Washington Post (The Washington Post Company). 2007-09-27. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/09/27/AR2007092702587.html. Retrieved 2007-10-07. [dead link]
  17. ^ "Bono and Bob Gedolf increase Africa's problems says charity". http://www.nme.com/news/bono/32704. 
  18. ^ "The Rock Star's Burden". The New York Times (The New York Times Company). 2005-12-15. http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/15/opinion/15theroux.html. 
  19. ^ Okonjo-Iweala warns against rising domestic debt.
  20. ^ An Economic Action Plan endorsed by Okonja-Iweala
  21. ^ "I am No Magician/url=http://allafrica.com/stories/201108250792.html". 
  22. ^ "This Government Is Entirely Illegitimate, As It Came As A Result of Rigging and Massive Abuse of Power". http://saharareporters.com/interview/sun-interview-government-entirely-illegitimate-it-came-result-rigging-and-massive-abuse-po. 
  23. ^ | "Ngozi-Okonjo-Iweala-Patriot-Blinded-By-The-West". http://nigeriamasterweb.com/blog/index.php/2011/09/09/. 
  24. ^ |Template:Title=Okonjo-Iweala, Others Shun Reps, Risk Arrest

External links

Preceded by
Olusegun Aganga
Finance Minister of Nigeria
July, 2011–Present
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Oluyemi Adeniji
Foreign Minister of Nigeria
July, 2006–August, 2006
Succeeded by
Joy Ogwu

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

См. также в других словарях:

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