From Africa to the World Trade Stage: Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala’s Inspiring Journey

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In nearly every facet of global society, whether public or private, the influence of Africans making significant strides is a common sight. This phenomenon owes itself to the fact that the continent boasts a reservoir of exceptional individuals brimming with the capabilities and intellect to create positive global impacts.

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala


One such exceptional figure is an economist and fervent advocate for international development, Mrs. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. She ascended to the role of Director General of the World Trade Organisation in 2021, becoming not only the first woman to hold the position but also the first African.


While her assumption of this role might seem recent, it’s vital to acknowledge that her journey to prominence began long before 2021. With a career spanning over four decades as an international development economist, Okonjo-Iweala has held various influential positions within her native Nigeria, across Africa, and on the global stage, leaving a trail of remarkable accomplishments.


Her career trajectory

Over the course of her illustrious career, she dedicated 25 years to the World Bank, where she served two distinct tenures.


Her initial engagement was as a development economist and vice president, as well as the corporate secretary of the World Bank Group, from 1982 to 2003. Subsequently, between 2007 and 2011, she rose to the esteemed position of managing director of operations. During this period, she oversaw a substantial operation portfolio of $81 billion across Africa, South Asia, Europe, and Central Asia.