Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

Former Finance Minister of Nigeria and Chair of the Board, Gavi

Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is Chair of the Board of Gavi, the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation. Since its creation in 2000, Gavi has immunised 580 children globally and saved seven million lives. She is also Senior Adviser at Lazard, one the world’s premier financial advisory and asset management firms.

Previously, Dr Okonjo-Iweala served twice as Nigeria’s Finance Minister, from 2003-2006, 2011-2015, and briefly Foreign Minister in 2006, the first woman to hold both positions. She spent a 25-year career at the World Bank as a development economist, rising to the No. 2 position of Managing Director.

Dr Okonjo-Iweala has been ranked by Fortune as one of the 50 Greatest World Leaders in 2015, by Forbes as one of the Top 100 Most Powerful Women in the World consecutively for four years, by Time as one of the Top 100 Most Influential People in 2014, by The Guardian as one of the Top 100 Women in the World in 2011, and by Foreign Policy as one of the Top 100 Global Thinkers in 2011. In 2016, she was one of five women selected globally by Devex and recognized with the Power with Purpose Award, and in 2014, she was the recipient of the David Rockefeller Bridging Leadership Award. In 2010, she received Columbia University’s Global Leadership Award and Africare’s Bishop John T. Walker Distinguished Humanitarian Service Award.

In addition, Dr Okonjo-Iweala is Chair of the Board of the African Union’s African Risk Capacity, an innovative weather-based insurance mechanism for African countries. Dr Okonjo-Iweala is a member of numerous boards and advisory groups, including the Rockefeller Foundation, the Harvard University Global Advisory Council, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank International Advisory Panel, the International Commission on Financing Global Education (chaired by Gordon Brown), the World Economic Forum Young Global Leaders Foundation, the B-Team (co-chaired by Sir Richard Branson), and the Commission on the New Climate Economy (co-chaired by President Felipe Calderon and Lord Nicholas Stern) amongst others. She is a Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Center for Global Development and was previously a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution, premier Washington DC think tanks.

She is the founder of C-SEA, the Center for the Study of Economies of Africa, a public finance-focused think tank in Nigeria, and NOI-Polls, Nigeria’s first indigenous opinion research organisation. Dr Okonjo-Iweala also serves as Chair of the Board of AUST, the African University for Science and Technology, Abuja, which she co-founded with African colleagues in the diaspora to train and retain Africa’s talent in science and technology.

Dr Okonjo-Iweala holds an A.B. in Economics from Harvard University, and a Ph.D. in Regional Economics and Development from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She has received honorary degrees from 12 universities worldwide, including Yale University, the University of Pennsylvania, Brown University, and Trinity College, Dublin. She is the author of several books including Reforming the Unreformable: Lessons from Nigeria, published by the MIT Press in 2012.