As the first female Finance Minister in Nigeria, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala attacks corruption to make the country more desirable for investment and jobs. As a managing director of the World Bank, she worked for change in all of Africa.

Why you should listen

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, a director of the World Bank, was Nigeria's Finance Minister and then briefly Foreign Affairs Minister from 2003 to 2006, the first woman to hold either position. In 2011, she was again named Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister for the Economy. Between those terms, from 2007 to 2011 she was a managing director of the World Bank.

During her two stints as Finance Minister, she has worked to combat corruption, make Nigeria's finances more transparent, and institute reforms to make the nation's economy more hospitable to foreign investment. The government unlinked its budget from the price of oil, its main export, to lessen perennial cashflow crises, and got oil companies to publish how much they pay the government.

Since 2003 -- when watchdog group Transparency International rated Nigeria "the most corrupt place on Earth" -- the nation has made headway recovering stolen assets and jailing hundreds of people engaged in international Internet 419 scams.

What others say

"Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is a heroine not just of Nigeria, but of the entire continent. Her crusade against corruption has put her life at risk." — The Independent (UK)

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala’s TED talks

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala on the TED Blog
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Live from TED2014

Progress for “the blue heart of the planet” and a plan to de-extinct a kayak: A recap of “Planet Dearth,” All-Stars Session 1 at TED2014

March 18, 2014

By Liz Jacobs and Kate Torgovnick Are we on the brink of a resource crisis? All signs point to yes. As the human population grows, the planet is buckling under the pressure of our needs. In this inaugural All-Stars session, 11 classic TED speakers return to the stage to share their deep concern for preserving […]

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4 great talks for International Women's Day

March 8, 2009

To celebrate March 8, International Women’s Day, we suggest these four TEDTalks gems from some amazing speakers — artists, scientists and economists who think deeply about the role of women. Author and activist Isabel Allende discusses women, creativity, feminism — and the power of passionate thinkers and doers: The former Finance Minister of Nigeria, Ngozi […]

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"Rock star" Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala named to World Bank

October 5, 2007

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala (watch her TEDTalks from TED2007 and TEDGlobal07), the crusading economist and former Finance Minister of Nigeria, has been appointed a Managing Director of the World Bank. Dr. Okonjo-Iweala will oversee the World Bank’s work in Africa, South Asia, and Europe and Central Asia. “Her commitment to the developing world is unparalleled,” said Robert […]

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Quotes from Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

[Africa] is a continent of many countries, not one country. If we are down to three or four conflicts, it means that there are plenty of opportunities to invest in stable, growing, exciting economies where there’s plenty of opportunity.
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala
TED2007 • 499K views May 2007
Inspiring, Informative
I’m standing here saying that those who miss the boat now, will miss it forever. So if you want to be in Africa, think about investing.
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala
TED2007 • 499K views May 2007
Inspiring, Informative
The best way to help Africans today is to help them to stand on their own feet. And the best way to do that is by helping create jobs.
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala
TED2007 • 499K views May 2007
Inspiring, Informative