By Uche Amunike
Nigerian born Director-General of the World Trade Organization, WTO, Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, has just made it to Tme Magazine’s list of 100 Most Influential People in the World.
The former Minister of Finance shared the information on her official Twitter handle, Wednesday.
Okonjo-Iweala who is the first African and first woman to head the World trade Organization was listed alongside notable people like United States president, Joe Biden, the United States Vice President, Kamala Harris the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry and Megan Markle, Dolly Parton, China President Xi Jinping, Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi among other notable dignitaries.
Speaking on Okonjo-Iweala’s efforts, Prince Harry and Megan described the WTO Director-General as someone who knows how to get things done especially at the helm of affairs at the World Trade Organization.
They said that their discussions with her have always been informative and energizing, partly because, despite the challenges she faces, she carries about her life and career with so much grace and a smile that warms even the coldest room.
They talked about the constant misinformation trending about the COVID-19 vaccination, the world over and how Okonjo-Iweala has shown the world that equipping every nation with equitable vaccine access and working together will go a long way to end the pandemic, especially as bureaucratic slowdowns across port both government and industry and the increase in variants underscore the urgency of the situation.
They confirmed that over a quarter of almost eight billion global population presently stands fully vaccinated stating that being able to achieve vaccine equity is a global duty of compassion for one another.
Recall that the seventy-three year old Okonjo-Iweala has worked as an Economist and Development Strategist. She is a renowned global finance expert, having worked with over thirty-one years of experience. She has worked in Africa, Asia, Europe, North America and Latin America. She was formerly the Chairman of the board of GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance and also before that, the former African Union Special Envoy to organize international financial support in the fight against the Coronavirus pandemic.
She served as Finance Minister in Nigeria twice from 2003 to 2006 and 2011 to 2015. Then, she very briefly held position of Foreign Minister in 2006. She was the first woman to hold both positions.
When she became Finance Minister, she moved Nigeria through the varying degrees of reforms that particularly centred on trade, financial issues, real sector issues, etc.
When she later became the Operational Manager of the World Bank, part of our portfolio was oversight responsibility for World Bank’s Eighty-one billion-dollar operational portfolio in Africa, South Africa, Central Asia and Europe.
She was a trailblazer in her field that she became majorly responsible for the World Bank initiatives that assisted low-income nations during the 2008/2009 food crisis and later in the trial period of global financial crisis
She is the only Nigerian to make it to Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the world in 2021.