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Meet Nigerian-British Arunma Oteh, The Former Vice President and First Black Treasurer of the World Bank

Arunma Oteh is a Nigerian-British national from Abia State in Nigeria’s southeast. The renowned economist and financial expert has served in a variety of national and international capacities. She began her career in 1985 at Centre Point Investments Limited, and in 1992 she joined the African Development Bank (AFDB), where she worked for 17 years and held several executive positions, including Senior Investment Officer/Senior Capital Markets Officer (193 – 1997), Division Manager of Investments and Trading Room (1997 – 2001), Group Treasurer (2001 – 2006), and Group Vice President – Corporate Services (2006 – 2008). (2006 – 2009).

She was the Director-General of Nigeria’s Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) from 2010 to 2015, during which time she restructured the Nigerian capital market following the global financial crisis and was a member of Nigeria’s Economic Management Team. She joined the World Bank as Vice President and Treasurer on September 30, 2015. As Treasurer, she oversaw a USD 200 billion debt portfolio and USD 200 billion in assets for 65 internal and external clients, including the World Bank Group, central banks, sovereign wealth funds, and other official institutions.

She and her team also helped the World Bank maintain its global reputation as a prudent and innovative borrower in over 50 currencies by carrying out transactions and carefully coordinating credit rating and capital market relationships for the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and the International Development Association (IDA). The team also used a derivatives portfolio worth over USD 600 billion to manage risk and processed annual cashflows worth over USD 7 trillion. She was also in charge of the World Bank’s extensive financial advisory business.

She left the World Bank in 2018 to become an Academic Scholar and Executive-in-Residence at SAID Business School at St. Anthony’s College. At the Business School, her research interests include capital markets, economic development, and financial technology. She advises the School on Africa, Entrepreneurship, Finance, and Sustainability, and she recently co-chaired the Anti-Racism Initiative Taskforce at the School.

Arunma has also served on the World Economic Forum Agenda Council Institutional Governance, the Africa Advisory Council for World Women’s Banking, and the London Stock Exchange Africa Advisory Group. During her 33-year career, she also served on several boards, including the International Organization of Securities Commissions (2010-2015), which regulates 95% of the world’s securities markets; the Nigeria Pension Commission; the International Financing Facility for Immunization (2006-2011); and the African Middle East Regional Committee.

FSD Africa, a specialist development agency focused on making finance work for Africa’s future, appointed Arunma Oteh as a non-executive director in October 2022.

Arunma Oteh was named an Officer of the Order of the Niger in recognition of her contributions to Nigeria’s economic development and role in transforming the country’s capital markets (OON). In 2011, she was also awarded the Commonwealth Business Council/African Business “Distinction in Public Service” award. She was named Business Woman of the Year in West Africa at the CNBCC Africa All Africa Business Leaders Awards (AABLA) in 2014.

In 2014, Arunma was also named Africa Investor Capital Market Personality of the Year. She received the New African Women Award in Finance and Banking in 2016, and Forbes named her one of Africa’s 50 Most Powerful Women in 2020. She was named one of the 100 Most Influential Africans by New African Magazine in 2015. She was named Ai Global Institutional Investment Personality of the Year in 2018.

Arunma received a First Class honors degree in Computer Science from the University of Nigeria in 1984 and an MBA from Harvard Business School in 1990. She co-edited the book African Voices, African Visions, which was first published in 2001.

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