Magazine article Foreign Policy

51 Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala: For Showing Africa How to Break the Resource Curse

Magazine article Foreign Policy

51 Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala: For Showing Africa How to Break the Resource Curse

Article excerpt

Finance minister | Nigeria

As a candidate in this year's unusually public race for the World Bank presidency, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala seemingly had it all: an MIT education, high-level experience with both the bank and the Nigerian government, the potential to be the first woman and first person of color to run the institution, and the support of everyone from the African Union to the Financial Times. She just didn't have the one thing that really mattered: a U.S. passport.

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But though she may have missed out on her chance to run the bank--American Jim Yong Kim got the post-Okonjo-Iweala is arguably as influential in her role as the powerful finance minister of Africa's most populous country and one of its fastest-growing economies. In a previous stint in the position, she successfully negotiated to wipe out millions of dollars of international debt, and since reassuming the post last year she has cut spending and helped establish a sovereign wealth fund to manage Nigeria's oil riches. …

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