Season 2 - Ep. 19 | Thriving Through Adversity: How WTO’s Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is Solving Global Problems

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October 26, 2022 | 37 min
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Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala
Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO)

Season 2 - Ep. 19 | Thriving Through Adversity: How WTO’s Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is Solving Global Problems

Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala thrives on challenge. As the first woman and first African to serve as Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO), Dr. Ngozi is responsible for negotiating seemingly impossible deals on global finance, trade, sustainability, and social welfare. We talk with her about her sense of purpose, values, and her firm belief in the power of trade to lift developing countries out of poverty and help them to achieve economic growth and sustainable development. We’ll also discuss another key leadership attribute: courage – in Dr. Ngozi’s case, growing up in war-torn Nigeria, taking on some of the world’s most consequential roles in the public sector, and persevering in her cause even when her mother’s kidnappers demanded Dr. Ngozi resign. This is a conversation about resolve, duty, and embracing risk you won’t want to miss.

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  • Bridging Cultures & Building Brands: Marketing CEO Emily Chang Masters Both 
  • Power, Politics and Purpose: Leadership Lessons with Former PM of Australia Julia Gillard 
  • Leadership for Good: FinTech Transformation in Asia

 


 

Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala 
Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) 

Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is the Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO). The first woman and first African to hold the position in the 75-year history of the General Agreement on Tariff and Trade (GATT) and World Trade Organisation.

She is an economist and international development expert with over 40 years of experience. She was Chair of the Board of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance (2016 – 2020), the African Risk Capacity (2014 – 2020) and Co-Chair of The Global Commission on the Economy and Climate. She served on the Board of Trustees of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and the Rockefeller Foundation. Previously, she served as Senior Advisor at Lazard Ltd. and sat on the Boards of Standard Chartered Bank PLC and Twitter Inc. Dr Okonjo- Iweala served as an African Union COVID-19 Special Envoy, as well as WHO COVID-19 Special Envoy in 2020. She was one of the founders of the COVAX Facility designed to get affordable vaccines to Low and Low Middle-Income Countries. She currently serves on the Board of Trustees for the World Economic Forum.

Dr Okonjo-Iweala was Nigeria’s first female and longest serving Finance Minister (7 years). During her tenure she implemented policy and institutional reforms to help fight corruption. She spearheaded the complete write off of $30 billion of Nigeria’s debt from the Paris club. She was also the first female Foreign Minister. She spent a 25-year career at the World Bank rising to the No.2 position of Managing Director, Operations.

In 2021, for the second time in her career, Dr Okonjo-Iweala was named one of TIME Magazine's 100 most influential people in the world and featured on the cover page. In 2020 Dr Okonjo-Iweala was named Forbes African of the Year. She has been ranked by Fortune as one of the 50 Greatest World Leaders (2015) and by Forbes as one of the Top 100 Most Powerful Women in the World for five years running. She is the recipient of 17 Honorary Doctorate Degrees including from some of the world's most prestigious universities such as Yale, University of Pennsylvania, Brown and Trinity College Dublin.

She holds a Bachelor’s in Economics from Harvard University, Magna Cum Laude, and a PhD in Regional Economics and Development from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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Podcast transcript coming soon.

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