News Release

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Former Nigerian Finance and Foreign Minister, Joins Brookings

January 10, 2007

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the former Minister of Finance and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Nigeria, joined Brookings as a Distinguished Visiting Fellow in the Global Economy and Development Program, Strobe Talbott announced.

At Brookings, Okonjo-Iweala will focus on economic reform issues in Africa, corruption and governance in social sector financing, transparency and accountability, and global health financing issues.

Okonjo-Iweala served in the Nigerian government from 2003 to 2006, first as the Finance Minister and then as the Foreign Affairs Minister. She was the first woman to hold either position in Nigeria. Prior to her work for the Nigerian government, Okonjo-Iweala was a vice president of the World Bank. For her efforts to bring openness, transparency and accountability to government financing and operations, Okonjo-Iweala was selected as a TIME Magazine “Hero of the Year” in 2004, and received the Euromarket Forum Award for Vision and Courage in 2003. She was honored with an honorary Doctor of Laws degree by Brown University in 2006.

“Ngozi’s outstanding achievements as finance minister on fiscal reforms and in Nigeria’s debt negotiations will bring a unique insider perspective to bear in our work on African economic reform and poverty alleviation – one of the great challenges of our time,” said Lael Brainard, vice president and director of Global Economy and Development at the Brookings Institution, and holder of the Bernard L. Schwartz Chair in International Economics.

Okonjo-Iweala’s work at Brookings will focus on three areas within the Global Economy and Development program: the Wolfensohn Center for Development, led by Johannes Linn; the Global Health Financing Initiative, recently launched with a Gates Foundation grant; and the Transparency and Accountability Project. The health and transparency projects are led by Senior Fellow David de Ferranti.

Okonjo-Iweala earned her undergraduate degree at Harvard and her Ph.D. in regional economics and development from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.


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