The EJS Center congratulates Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, EJS Center Board Member and Amujae Coach, on becoming Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO). She has made history as the first woman and African to ever hold this position.
An economist and international development expert with over 30 years of experience, Dr. Okonjo-Iweala has been a pioneer of women’s leadership throughout her career, also breaking new ground as the first woman to hold the position of Finance Minister in Nigeria.
Dr. Okonjo-Iweala has been integral to the work of the EJS Center since its launch. As an Amujae Coach, she has generously shared her wisdom and experience with the 2020 and 2021 cohorts of Amujae Leaders, accomplished African women on the journey of public leadership.
Dr. Okonjo-Iweala’s words during the recent 2021 Amujae Leaders induction serve as an inspiration for women leaders across Africa and around the world who may seek to follow in her footsteps:
“There will be many successes and victories along the way, but there will also be many setbacks. What I want you to know is that those who make it are those who turn every disadvantage, every challenge, into an opportunity.”
Thanking her for her remarks during the induction, former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf expressed her admiration and appreciation for Dr. Okonjo-Iweala, saying:
” inspire us—not only as a Member of the Board, but what you have done professionally, as one of Africa’s prominent women technocrats; one who has served in executive office, both at home and abroad, bringing reform and change to whatever you do. Even though many of us are older than you, we still watched what you did, and we motivated to be stronger in whatever we did, to be more committed to ensur that we brought other people along, because you had led the way.”
As we move forward with the second year of the Amujae Initiative, which she has so generously supported since its inception, we recall Dr. Okonjo-Iweala’s words at the inaugural Amujae Leadership Forum:
“When I looked at the list of the amazing women who are here, I just felt so encouraged. It is so wonderful when you think that we have younger cohorts of leaders coming up, who can take up the mantle and deliver. It makes you feel very very good.”
We thank Dr. Okonjo-Iweala for all she has done to champion African women’s ascension to the highest levels of public leadership, and wish her continued success as she steps into her new role leading the WTO.