‘I’m a fighter’: WTO’s first female, African head ready for battle

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, set to be named director general, joins as global trading system facing make-or-break moment

Even for an economist, there are lots of very large numbers in the life of Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. As the chair of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, she has overseen the annual immunisation of millions of children. When managing director of the World Bank, she oversaw $81bn worth of operations. In her stints in charge of Nigeria’s finances, she tackled Africa’s most populous country’s $30bn debt. And she has 1.5 million followers on Twitter.

There are lots of smaller numbers too: the 20 non-profit organisations which have appointed Okonjo-Iweala to their advisory boards, the major banks and corporations she has advised, the 10 honorary degrees in addition to her own doctorate, 20 or so awards, dozens of major reports authored, and the books.

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