Obiageli Ezekwesili

Nigerian

Obiageli "Oby" Ezekwesili, until she disengaged in May of 2012,was the Vice President of the Africa Region of the World Bank for five years. She oversaw more than 1800 staff and is responsible for the delivery of projects and economic and sectoral work in 47 Sub-Saharan countries. Over the last five years, under her leadership, the Bank committed $40 billion in new project lending in Africa in grants. The knowledge services to countries in Africa were through over 400 economic and analytical studies including Technical Assistance (TAs).

Oby joined the World Bank in 2007 when she resigned her position as Minister of Education in the Government of Nigeria. As Federal Minister of Education, she led a comprehensive reform program within the education sector including restructuring and refocusing the ministry for the attainment of Education for All (EfA) targets and Millennium Development Goals. She also introduced the Public-Private Partnership models for education service delivery; revamped the Federal Inspectorate Service as an improved quality assurance mechanism and introduced transparency and accountability mechanisms for better governance of the budget. Ms. Ezekwesili led the establishment of the Innovation & Vocational Enterprise Institutions initiatives which focuses on the development of skills for economic competitiveness and--in conjunction with the Nigerian Stock Exchange-- launched the “Adopt-A-School” program, an initiative that fosters philanthropy by corporations; community groups and individuals.

Career Snapshot

Ms Ezekwesili began her career with Deloitte & Touche Akintola Williams. She then served as a founding Director of Transparency International (TI) and as TI’s Director for Africa from 1994 to 1999. Between 2000 and 2002, she worked with Professor Jeffrey Sachs as Director of the Harvard-Nigeria Economic Strategy program, during which time she was also appointed as an aide to President Obasanjo. In 2003, she was designated Senior Special Assistant to the President of Nigeria on Budget Monitoring and Price Intelligence. As Minister of Solid Minerals from 2005 to 2006, Ms. Ezekwesili oversaw the passage of the Minerals and Mining Act, the establishment of the Nigerian Mining Cadastre Office and the opening of the sector to private participation. Ms. Ezekwesili also served as the Chairperson of the Nigerian Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative from 2004 and led the voluntary sign-on of Nigeria to the EITI Principles as well as the first ever process, financial and physical audit of Nigeria’s oil and gas sector. She was a member of the widely acclaimed Economic Team of President Olusegun Obasanjo and was responsible for the Administration's comprehensive Governance, Transparency, Accountability and Anti-Corruption strategy.

As Vice President of the largest unit of the World Bank, through her strategic leadership, the Africa team employed innovation, knowledge, partnership and financial services to strengthen results across Africa and to improve the prospects for Africa’s economic performance. Her close attention to the needs of clients, engagement with African leadership and with regional institutions -- such as the African Union, EAC and ECOWAS --as well as with the UN and other partners, has been instrumental to the Bank’s enhanced effectiveness across Africa. The new Bank strategy for Africa and its implementation plan, both developed under her leadership, offer a strong legacy.

Ms Ezekwesili is embarking on a new Soros Foundation funded initiative of establishing a public policy center based in Abuja focused on providing economic policy advisory support for pro- reform governments in Africa as well as the founding of an Africa wide graduate school of public policy to produce capable and competent public servants for African countries.

Formal Education

Ms. Ezekwesili is a Chartered Accountant and holds a Masters in International Law & Diplomacy from the University of Lagos, a Masters in Public Policy & Administration from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government as well as a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Business Education from the University of Nigeria. In 2006, Ms. Ezekwesili was given the national award of Commander of the Order of the Federal Republic (CFR) and has received several national and international awards including Honorary Doctorate Degree from Universities. She is married to Pastor Chinedu Ezekwesili and has three sons.

Ms Ezekwesili’s first term of office expires in December 2016.
Obiageli Ezekwesili / ©: Obiageli Ezekwesili
Obiageli Ezekwesili
© Obiageli Ezekwesili

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