Biography of Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, a Nigerian-American economist who was born on the 13th of June 1954 hails from Ogwashi-Uku, Delta State, Nigeria. She currently serves as the seventh Director General of the World Trade Organization from 2021 and she is, since the inception of the organisation, the first female African to head the World Trade Organisation.

Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala served twice as the Finance Minister (2003-2006, 2011-2015) for Nigeria, being the first woman to hold the position, and she spent a 25-year career at the World Bank rising to the number 2 position of Managing Director.

The Prosperity Ark

Okonjo-Iweala was born in Ogwashi-Ukwu, Delta State, Nigeria where her father, Professor Chukwuka Okonjo, was the Obi (king) of the Obahai royal family of Ogwashi-Ukwu in Nigeria. She was educated at Queen's School, Enugu, St. Anne's School, Molete, Ibadan, Oyo State and the International School, Ibadan. In 1973, she arrived in the United States to study at Harvard University and graduated with an AB in Economics in 1976. She earned her Master's degree in City Planning in 1978 and her PhD in Regional Economics and Development in 1981 from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She received an international fellowship from the American Association of University Women which supported her Doctoral studies.

It would interest you to know that she is a whole representation of her name, Ngozi which means blessing and Okonjo which means preserved. Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has indeed done well and preserved the blessings of Nigeria.

She is married to Ikemba Iweala, and the marriage is blessed with four wonderful children.

Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala's story is one that really calls forth greatness again and again among the younger generations and some major lessons learnt from the highlights of her life's story include: 

1. The seed of greatness is inside everyone of us. For that seed to become a mighty tree that others can nest under, we must be ready to go the extra mile. Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala did not stop when her first crown of victory came, she continued to nurture the seed of greatness in her. 

One of the things her story displays is that, we all do not just arrive at the top suddenly, there is a track record - One that reads, "I will keep on keeping on", one that reads, "I'll study that piece again", "I will apply for that job again, till I get it, till I get there.”

2.When you make the decision to give value to a people or a situation, you become indispensable. 

Competence cannot be bought, you earn it, you grow in it and you become better when you put yourself out there and learn from your mistakes.

The Prosperity Ark

This great and phenomenal woman, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has consistently made her life one that gives out value, that gives out solutions to the problems and complex situations of institutions and nations. By doing this, she has been called in great places to serve all because she made that one decision to be valuable. 

3. You can only develop what/where/who you love. Dr Ngozi started her education at Queen's School, Enugu. However,she continued to develop the gifting in her. One thing I have learnt from this great woman is that she looks forward to the next great victory.

Yes, she has all the applause resounding behind her ears but her eyes tell her there's more. Her acts of true patriotism shows her undaunting love for Nigeria, such that she has literally put her town on  the map of the world. True love for your world would make you go to every length to ensure that you have their answers before they arrive at your doorstep with their questions. 

4. Diligence does not kill, it only makes you stronger.

It might have been said that hard work or diligence is just a waste of time but if you would trust me this once, you will be happy you did.

Hard Work, that is, diligence does not kill, it only makes you stronger. The life of Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has shown consistently the life of a woman, who has chosen to live a life, not of hardship but of hard work. Every single institution she has had to work with, required her study of resources that would make these institutions better.

These stretches in reading, researching, speaking at Conferences, accommodating new personalities among many others have made this phenomenal woman, one we can look at and rejoice over. Indeed, she has shown that success and greatness is not even within your reach, it is in YOU.

Therefore, dear readers, step out this week full of fire and hope for the beauty and hope of the future. Many, like Dr Okonjo-Iweala have gone ahead and yours will not be different.

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