Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala Promotes Trade in Africa
Born in Africa and educated at MIT and Harvard, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala previously worked for the World Bank where she spent 21 years as a development economist. She became very familiar with the economies of East Asia, putting in two tours in the region and acting as a country director for Malaysia, Laos and Cambodia.
She is remembered in Nigeria for bringing new fiscal discipline to the nation’s finances, and as Finance Minister of that country she arranged for the cancellation of $18 billion of Nigeria’s debt to the Paris Club in 2005. The remaining debt was paid the following year with money that was saved thanks to the budget reforms she enacted.
She is known for her attacks on corruption and for accelerating privatization and liberalization in Nigeria. On her watch, Nigeria’s inflation rate more than halved.
TED Talk By Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala on Business Opportunity in Africa
A recent TED Talk by Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala focused on the topic of business opportunity in Africa. She shared a personal story in the talk which explained her own commitment to this cause.
She said that the picture of Africa that most people see today is one of drought, death and disease, but she wanted to focus on the future of Africa and about how the statistics show that the continent has been doing much better in recent years. She notes that the continent is growing at rates that people had previously thought were impossible.
In addition, inflation has come down and external debt has also come down dramatically, which are both huge achievements. African countries have also built up reserves, which is important to show off their economies and to show that their currency have a strong platform on which people can plan and build.