Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala was born on the 13th of June 1954 to the Obahia royal family of Professor Chukwuka Okonjo.
After her secondary school education in Enugu and Ibadan, she proceeded to Harvard University to study Economics and graduated with magna cum laude with an AB. She thereafter proceeded to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) where she graduated with a PhD in regional economics and development in 1981. She later landed a job at the World Bank where she spent 21 years as a development economist.
Between 2003-2006, Okonjo-Iweala became Nigeria’s Minister of Finance under the administration of President Olusegun Obasanjo. During this time, she negotiated with the Paris Club of Creditors which saw $30 billion of Nigeria’s debt cleared including the cancellation of US$18 billion
She also introduced The Excess Crude Account which enabled the savings and management of oil revenues; Treasury Single Account among others.
In addition, she started the publishing of each states monthly financial Federal allocation in major national newspapers among other innovations.
She thereafter moved to the World Bank as Managing Director in December 2007. Between 2008 and 2009, she initiated programmes that helped low-income countries during the fool and financial crises.
Following her reappointment as Finance Minister in 2011, the Goodluck Jonathan administration added the Coordinating Minister for the Economy to her portfolio. It was through her reformations that Nigeria emerged the largest economy in Africa and the Youth Enterprise with Innovation programme (YouWIN) appraised by the World Bank as one of the most effective programmes worldwide was introduced. She also kicked off the Nigerian Mortgage Refinance Corporation (NMRC).
In 2018, Okonjo-Iweala joined the board of Twitter Inc.
She has been listed in “100 Most Influential People in the World (Time Magazine); 50 Greatest World Leaders (Fortune magazine) and Transparency International “Anti-Corruption Fighters” (2019)