President Zoellick Appoints Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala as Managing Director, World Bank
Washington, October 4th, 2007 World Bank President, Robert B. Zoellick, today announced the appointment of Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala as a Managing Director of the World Bank. Dr. Okonjo-Iweala will join Managing Directors Juan Jose Daboub and Graeme Wheeler, Executive Vice Presidents Lars Thunell (IFC) and Yukiko Omura (MIGA), and Chief Financial Officer Vincenzo La Via at the top level of World Bank Group (WBG) management.
Making the announcement, Mr. Zoellick said "Ngozi brings a unique set of skills and experience to the World Bank Group. As an outstanding Minister of Finance and Foreign Minister in Nigeria, Ngozi helped lead the country's reform program on issues of fiscal prudence, transparency of government accounts, good governance, and anti-corruption. She led Nigeria's quest for debt relief and helped her country obtain an unprecedented US$18 billion write-off from the Paris Club. Ngozi was also instrumental in helping Nigeria obtain its first ever Sovereign Credit rating (of BB minus) from Fitch and Standard & Poor's. She is an internationally respected world leader. In addition, she knows the WBG well from her 21 years of service. Her commitment to the developing world is unparalleled. I am delighted she has accepted to join my senior team."
Dr. Okonjo-Iweala was educated at Harvard University (A.B. Magna Cum Laude 1977) and has her Ph.D. in regional economics and development from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
Dr. Okonjo-Iweala, a Nigerian national, is Founder of NOI-Gallup polls, an indigenous Nigerian opinion research organization, and co-founder of the Makeda Fund a fund to invest in African women entrepreneurs. She is currently a Distinguished Fellow at the Brookings Institution. From 2003-2006, she served as Finance Minister and subsequently Minister of Foreign Affairs of Nigeria. As Finance Minister, Dr. Okonjo-Iweala led Nigeria's Economic Team responsible for implementing the Obasanjo administration's far reaching economic and social reform agenda. The reforms made particular progress in restoring macroeconomic stability, tripling growth, initiating a strong fight against corruption, and increasing transparency.
Before taking up her Ministerial appointment, Dr. Okonjo-Iweala served in a number of important positions at the World Bank including Vice President and Corporate Secretary, Director of Operations in the Middle East and North Africa region, and Country Director for the South East Asia and Mongolia Country unit. She joined the World Bank in 1982.
Accepting the appointment Dr. Okonjo-Iweala said: I am delighted to be coming back, and I welcome the opportunity to work through this great institution to make a difference in the lives of our youth, and our hardworking men and women in the developing world. I particularly look forward to working with President Zoellick as he maps out exciting new paths for the World Bank Group."
Dr. Okonjo-Iweala is a recipient of numerous awards and honors including Time Magazine European Hero 2004, Euromoney Magazine Global Finance Minister of the year 2005, Financial Times/The Banker African Finance Minister of the year 2005, This Day Nigeria Minister of the Year 2004, 2005, Honorary Doctorate of Laws from Colby College 2007, and Brown University 2006, Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters, Northern Caribbean University, Jamaica. She is a member or chair of numerous boards and advisory groups in the public, private and non-governmental sectors including DATA, the World Resources Institute, the Clinton Global Initiative, the Nelson Mandela Institution and the African Institutes of Science and Technology, the Mo Ibrahim Foundation Governance Prize Committee, Friends of the Global Fund Africa. She is also an adviser to the World Bank on the Stolen Assets Recovery (STAR) initiative, and served as a member of the Malan Committee on Bank-Fund collaboration.
Dr. Okonjo-Iweala graduated with an A.B. magna cum laude in Economics from Harvard University, and holds a PhD in Regional Economics and Development from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
In her new position, Dr.Okonjo-Iweala will have responsibility for the World Banks Africa, South Asia, and Europe and Central Asia Regions. She will also take oversight responsibility for Human Resources. Her appointment is effective December 1.
http://web.worldbank.org/WBSITE/EXTERNAL/NEWS/0,,contentMDK:21499083~pagePK:64257043~piPK:437376~theSitePK:4607,00.htmlSome controversy surrounded Okonjo-Iwealas appointment as Finance Minister, as well as that of Foreign Affairs minister, Olu Adeniji, as other ministers were resentful of their United Nations (UN) salaries of over $240,000 (US), 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. On Friday, 20th July 2007, the Court of Appeal in Nigeria ruled that the salary over payment was illegal and not done within the ambit of Nigeria's laws and directed her and Mr Olu Adeniji to pay back the excess to the account of the state.
The ruling itself is considered controversial since the target should have been the Nigerian presidency, which knowingly violated its own laws in attempting to attract skilled technocrats back to Nigeria. In addition, since the salaries in question were paid by a UNDP fund and not by the Nigerian government, the ruling would in effect have Okonjo-Iweala and Adeniji return their salaries to the United Nations, an act unprecedented in the history of the UNDP fund for repatriating skilled technocrats to developing countries. In Nigeria the income per capital is lower than a thousand dollars.
FROM THE FT:
Zoellick revamps top management
By Krishna Guha in Washington
Published: October 4 2007 20:56 | Last updated: October 5 2007 00:58
Robert Zoellick on Thursday revamped the top management structure of the World Bank, bringing in Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, a former Nigerian finance and foreign minister, as one of his top deputies and shaking up the portfolios of his other two managing directors.
Ms Okonjo-Iweala, who worked at the bank for 21 years as a development economist, will become managing director for Africa, South Asia and Europe and central Asia. These regions include most of the borrowers from IDA, the banks concessional loan facility. She will also be in charge of human resources - a sensitive area following disputes over appointments made by former president Paul Wolfowitz - with a brief to encourage diversity.
Meanwhile, Juan Jose Daboub will be put in charge of the Middle East, Latin America and East Asia, regions that are mostly made up of middle income countries. Graeme Wheeler, the other managing director, will be responsible for the banks development networks and work on global public goods such as climate change.
The appointment of Ms Okonjo-Iweala is likely to be popular with the banks staff and non-governmental organisations, some of whom tried to promote her as a possible successor to Mr Wolfowitz.
Ms Okonjo-Iweala told the FT she would seek to promote human infrastructure and physical infrastructure in the regions she will oversee. She said many countries, including in Africa, had achieved macroeconomic stability, but needed support translating this into poverty-reducing growth.
Ms Okonjo-Iweala said that in many nations, including in South Asia, poor physical infrastructure was becoming a binding constraint on growth. The bank has to find more imaginative ways to help, she added.
And according to Forbes she is among the most powerful women in the world