More international recognition for Okonjo-Iweala pours in

By Joshua Amaugo September 21, 2015 14:21

More international recognition for Okonjo-Iweala pours in

Despite a barrage of criticism from several quarters, the Former Minister of Finance and Coordinator of the Economy, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has officially accepted two key international appointments after a competitive international search process identified her as a prime candidate for both jobs.

​Okonjo-Iweala was on Monday offered the advisory role to help countries structure their finances and deal with debt issues, with a second offer to head the board of GAVI, an international public private partnership committed to saving the lives of children and protecting people’s health by improving access to immunization.

The appointment is coming at a time when Edo State Governor, Adams Oshiomhole, has repeatedly accused Okonjo-Iweala for embezzling public funds during her time as Finance Minister which she debunked on several occasions.

See: Oshiomhole’s accusations are an embarrassment to himself – Okonjo-Iweala

See: $2.1b Allegation: Buhari’s NEC, wants to tarnish my image – Okonjo-Iweala

See: Okonjo-Iweala responds to Oshiomole, El-Rufai

On the Chinese $1 Billion rail loan targeted at tarnishing her personality by President Muhammadu Buhari, Okonjo-Iweala refuted such claims.

See: Okonjo Iweala shuts down Buhari accusations

Okonjo-Iweala, who accepted the offer, said “I am excited to be embarking on this fresh journey. The two appointments will enable me to continue doing what I know best – rendering public service and using my financial and economist skills.

“I thank the international community for the recognition and continued support. I am also grateful for the prayers and support of many Nigerians”.

According to her media aide, Paul C. Nwabuikwu, “GAVI brings together developing countries and donor governments, the World Health Organization, UNICEF, the World Bank, the vaccine industry in both industrialized and developing countries, research and technical agencies, civil society, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and other private philanthropists.

    “GAVI is funded by governments of Australia, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, the People’s Republic of China, Republic of Korea, Russia, South Africa, Spain, the State of Qatar, the Sultanate of Oman, Sweden, United Kingdom, and the United States as well as the European Commission, the OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID) and other institutional and corporate partners.

    “It will be recalled that, from 2000-2015, GAVI disbursed $425m in grants to Nigeria, an average of about $30m per annum for vaccination and immunization of children, including polio vaccines.

    “Dr Okonjo-Iweala succeeds Dagfinn Høybråten, a former Norwegian Minister of Health and current Secretary General of the Nordic Council of Ministers as Chair of GAVI.

    “Previous Chairs include Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland and respected education activist and former First Lady of South Africa, Graca Machel.

    “In the second appointment, the former Managing Director of the World Bank has also joined the highly respected 167-year-old global investment firm, Lazard as Senior Advisor. Her focus will be sovereign advisory.

    “We are proud to welcome Dr. Okonjo-Iweala as a Senior Advisor to our world-leading sovereign advisory group,” said Matthieu Pigasse, Global Head of M&A and Sovereign Advisory of Lazard. “She will bring a unique international expertise and experience that will benefit both our sovereign and corporate clients.”

    “At Lazard, Dr Okonjo-Iweala will work alongside colleagues including former Prime Minister of Australia, Paul Keating; former Special adviser to President Bill Clinton, Vernon Jordan; former Spanish Economy Minister and current Snr Managing Director at Lazard, Rodrigo de Rato; former chair of NASDAQ, Frank Zarb; former Finance Minister of Chile, Andres Velasco; and former British Minister of Parliament/Secretary of State for International Development, Andrew Mitchell.”

Former President Goodluck Jonathan on September 7, 2015 in a statement applauded the former Minister of Agriculture, Akinwumi Adesina and Former Director–General of the Stock Exchange Arunma Oteh for their new roles on the international scene.

See: Adesina emerges AfDB President

Jonathan said “Given your (Adesina) exemplary record of performance, while serving as the minister of Agriculture and Rural Development in my cabinet, I have no doubt that you will deploy your energy and the bank’s resources to ensure that Africa experiences a new era of accelerated development.”

Oteh, former Director-General of the Securities and Exchange Commission, was commended for her profound knowledge of capital markets, as she was appointed the Treasurer and Vice President of the World Bank.