Bloomberg News

Okonjo-Iweala to Leave World Bank Mid-August for Nigeria Post

July 08, 2011

July 8 (Bloomberg) -- Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, a managing director at the World Bank, will leave her post mid-August to become coordinating minister for the economy and minister of finance in Nigeria, the Washington-based lender said.

Nigeria’s Senate this week approved Okonjo-Iweala’s return to a cabinet position, five years after she left a previous government.

“Her desire to serve her country is truly a big loss for the World Bank but a major gain for Nigeria as it works to craft its economic way forward,” World Bank President Robert Zoellick said in a press release today. He called her work “stellar.”

As finance minister of Africa’s largest oil producer from 2003 to 2006, Okonjo-Iweala spearheaded talks that led the Paris Club group of creditors to write off $18 billion in Nigerian debt. At the World Bank since 2007, she had special oversight for work in African, eastern Europe, and Central and South Asia.

She also led efforts to replenish the bank’s fund that lends to poor countries, raising a record $49.3 billion.

--With assistance by Elisha Bala-Gbogbo in Abuja. Editors: Carlos Torres, Christopher Wellisz

To contact the reporters on this story: Sandrine Rastello in Washington at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Christopher Wellisz at

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