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Up close with Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

The online version of UK daily The Independent recently published an article about Nigeria's Finance Minister, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala titled: “The woman who has the power to change Africa“. The article has motivated a number of Nigerian bloggers to share their opinion about her.

We start with Naijablog in a blog entry titled: “Ngozi and the solidity of the reform process

There's a big positive spread on Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala in today's Independent. When people ask, ‘what has she really done?’ I would always defend her and say a) the debt relief deal (60%) she got was just about the best she could get with the Paris Club, given Nigeria's international reputation. b) the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative which recently conducted an audit of oil revenues (and revealed alarming disparities between the oil companies figures and CBN accounts) has upped the stakes in terms of access to information. c) One can say the same for the Federation Account figures detailing monthly oil and other Federally-accrued revenues that go to the States (now whereever you live in Nigeria you can find out how much your State Governor receives, and compare this figure with the state of your local infrastructure. d) inflation is down from around 26% three years ago to 11%, thanks to setting the budgetted oil price to a modest level and accruing billions of dollars in foreign reserves. Plus the fact that she now earns US$6000 for her efforts (the standard ministerial salary) is highly commendable.

Chippla's Weblog whilst sharing opinion about Power generation in Nigeria, also posted some lines about her.

The Nigerian Finance Minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, is an admirable lady. She is liked for giving birth to an era of transparency in the finance ministry as well as the commendable job she did in negotiating her nation out of its debt problem. The mainstream media (and this blog) have been full of praises for her. However, there are Okonjo-Iweala critics. Some see her as a product of Bretton Woods institutions, whose policies are too textbook oriented and IMF/World Bank dictated.

In a post entitled “Which politician is stealing your money he writes

This blogger holds two Nigerian ministers in high esteem: the minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Mr. Nasr El-Rufai and the minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. The MIT and Harvard-trained Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala came into office with a mission: to clean up a heavily corrupt and bureaucratic system to the best of her ability and help kick-start a sleeping economy. Without a doubt, Dr. Iweala has made significant progress. She was to a large extent the brain behind the recent debt pardon granted by the Paris Club of International Creditors to Nigeria. As head of the Ministry of Finance, Okonjo-Iweala took it upon herself to ensure that monetary allocations to the various state and local governments that make up the Federal Republic of Nigeria are made public.

Thoughts About K4D has a look at her background: Education Counts: An Inspiring Life

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala grew up in the Nigerian countryside, and her family lost everything in the Biafra war. But her parents, university educated in Europe, started over. She won scholarships, and eventually attended Harvard and got a PhD at MIT. Working in the World Bank, she was called upon to serve her country, and is now finance minister in Nigeria.

cinemmarian showers praises on her further:

Nigeria has been able to pay of ALL its debts partially due to the efforts of this woman and partially due to the fact that it has oil. But even if its had oil before it wasn't able to pay off its debts. So I guess it has a lot to do with this woman. Oh when will the Philippines have people of such vision that we may finally be able to get rid of our own debts?

4 comments

  • “… Oh when will the Philippines have people of such vision that we may finally be able to get rid of our own debts?”

    In the Philippines, people with vision are murdered, either by the current political administration (this was common practice during the Marcos era), or by the CIA and its proxies with the objective of keeping America’s economic interests in the Philippines in the hands of America.

    When Cory Aquino took over after Marcos, she had the fantastic opportunity to negotiate the nation’s debt relief. But housewives do not make good leaders, and she surrounded herself not with shrewd advisers.

    If there will be a Filipino with vision, this is what may happen:

    http://news.inq7.net/nation/index.php?index=1&story_id=76389

  • […] This blog round-up by yours truly was initially published on Global Voices under the heading: Up close with Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala on Sunday, May 28th, 2006. […]

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