Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

Economist, international development expert
A respected global economist, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala's parents instilled in her the value of service to others.

Why you should listen

In 2021, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala became the first African and first woman appointed director-general of the World Trade Organization (WTO). From 2003 to 2006, she was the Finance Minister of Nigeria, Africa's largest economy, and then became the country's Foreign Affairs Minister, the first woman to hold either position. From 2011 to 2015, she was again named Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister for the Economy of Nigeria. She worked to free her country from 30 billion dollars of debt owed to the Paris Club, modernized the financial management systems by introducing transparency and publishing government accounts and used technology to help block leakage of revenues and fight corruption.

Between 2007 to 2011, Okonjo-Iweala was one of the managing directors at the World Bank and a candidate for the organization's presidency, where she worked for change in Africa and assistance for low-income countries. She was also senior advisor at financial advisory and asset management firm Lazard, and she chaired the Board of the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization. She is now World Health Organization COVID-19 envoy to the ACT Accelerator and African Union envoy on COVID-19. She is proud and thankful for her biggest accomplishments: her four beautiful children, who, she says, are now adults and good human beings giving service to others.

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

More news and ideas from Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

Live from TEDWomen

Onward! Notes from Session 3 of TEDWomen 2020

November 12, 2020

For the culminating session of TEDWomen 2020, we looked in one direction: onward! Hosted by TEDWomen curator Pat Mitchell and TEDx learning specialist Bianca DeJesus, the final session featured speakers and performers who shared wisdom on preparing for new challenges, turning fear into action and finding the way forward — even when the path isn’t […]

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Join us for TEDWomen 2020: Fearless on November 12

October 23, 2020

TEDWomen 2020 is nearly here! The day-long conference will take place on November 12 via TED’s new virtual conference platform. TEDWomen attendees will experience TED’s signature talks as well as an array of live, interactive sessions, community “idea dates,” small-group speaker Q&As and more. The talks featured in the program have been developed in collaboration […]

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Live from TEDSummit 2016

African growth is not a fluke: Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala at TEDSummit 2016

June 28, 2016

African growth is a trend, not a fluke, says economist Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. While the continent's rocketship growth of the late 2000s has slowed, she shows how growth can get back on track if African nations lean into what the continent has been doing well -- and address eight challenges that might hold back a better future.

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