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Okonjo-Iweala bags two top positions in U.S

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

Former Finance minister and also the Supervising Minister for the Economy, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has announced she will be joining United States investment bank Lazard’s sovereign advice division.
She has also been appointed chair-elect of the board of Gavi the Vaccine Alliance, founded by Bill and Melinda Gates, she told the Financial Times. The moves follow her second stint as Nigeria’s finance minister, which ended in May after the administration she served was voted out of office.
“The two appointments I’m going to undertake embody a continuation of what I’ve tried to do in my career”, she said.
“My work at Gavi will help me continue my work in strengthening institutions and building systems” to improve the health of children through immunisation, she said. At Lazard, she said, she would advise countries on structuring their finances and dealing with debt issues.
Ms Okonjo-Iweala has spent the past three decades working on fiscal management and governance systems in Africa through 25 years at the World Bank, most recently as a managing director, and twice as finance minister in what is now the continent’s biggest economy.
But her last stint as finance minister was noticeable for the controversy it drew to the respected economist, who in 2007 ran unsuccessfully to become the first president of the World Bank from the developing world.
She was sharply criticised by the Nigerian press for not speaking out more vociferously about the alleged corrupt practices of the Goodluck Jonathan administration.
Ms Okonjo-Iweala argues that her work on transparency and anti-corruption as finance minister under both Mr Jonathan and Olusegun Obasanjo has been unfairly “brushed aside”.
“One of the reasons I went to this office [of finance minister] this time was indeed to try and build institutions that could help fight corruption, with the belief that . . . if you don’t have the type of systems and mechanisms in place to prevent corruption you won’t be able to win that fight.”
She said she introduced financial management systems and was the first to sound the alarm, back in 2012, about how the state was losing $1bn a month to oil theft.
Her critics say she did not speak up loudly enough. The credit for exposing the corrupt practices has gone mainly to Lamido Sanusi, the former central bank governor suspended by Mr Jonathan last year after he presented detailed evidence that explained the racket

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