From September 2006 to November 2007, Dr. Okojo-Iweala was distinguished visiting fellow at Brookings Institution, Washington, D.C. Prior to that she was finance minister of Nigeria for three years and briefly minister of foreign affairs. As minister of finance, she spearheaded negotiations with the Paris Club of Creditors that led to the cancellation of $18 billion or 60 percent of Nigeria’s external debt. Dr. Okonjo-Iweala is a member or chair of numerous boards and advisory groups, including ONE Campaign, the World Resources Institute, the Rockefeller Foundation, the African Institutes of Science and Technology as well as the Center for Global Development (CGD).
Dr. Okonjo-Iweala was the founder of the first indigenous opinion research organization in Nigeria (NOI-Gallup Polls). She was co-founder of the Makeda Fund, a $50 million private equity fund that invests in women-owned small- and medium-sized enterprises in Africa. She founded the Center for the Study of Economies of Africa (C-SEA), a development research think-tank based in Abuja, Nigeria. She was recently named a member of the Danish government-led Commission on Africa and a member of the World Economic Forum Global Leadership Council on Transparency and Corruption. She is also a member of the renowned Commission on World Growth led by Nobel Prize winner, Professor Michael Spence.
Dr. Okonjo-Iweala was educated at Harvard University and has a PhD in regional economics and development from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including honorary doctorates from Trinity College, Dublin and Brown University, among others. She is the recipient of Time Magazine’s European Hero of the Year Award and was named by Forbes Magazine as one of the 100 most powerful women in the world.