“If you want to work in the financial policy space, or health, or anywhere, you should be at the top of your game. Don’t bring mediocrity anywhere near the table. Some people think that going into the public sector is going to be an easy ride—far from it.”
She also stressed the need for young people to be confident in their competence and to be bold in putting themselves out there:
“Come with tenacity, come with courage, come with boldness, come with discipline… Failure is not an option, you’re going to succeed at this… Don’t wait for people to invite you to the table, grab the chair and sit at the table because you belong there. Don’t wait for any favors or handouts… show up and go for a walk with your A game.”
During the interview, which also focused on her work as Special Adviser to the President of Nigeria on the Ease of Doing Business, Dr. Oduwole expressed her passion for her job, which she said is “tough but it’s very, very fulfilling.” As she rose through the ranks, she said, she needed to ensure that she had a strong network around her—such as the one she has gained through the EJS Center’s Amujae Initiative.
“ you can leverage other people’s experiences, you can share your own, you know you have friends in powerful places… Women should also remember to lift up other women to make sure that we’re all going at this together.”
In her current role, Dr. Oduwole is focused on improving Nigeria’s ranking on the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business index, which rates 190 economies on their business climates and regulations for local firms. During the interview, Dr. Oduwole shared some of the results her team has seen since they began their work in 2016:
“We’ve had some impact… moved up 39 places, we’ve been twice recognized as a top 10 global reformer… in a span of three years. There’s still a lot of work to do, though.”
The conversation closed with Dr. Oduwole sharing her vision for Africa’s future:
“I need to see an Africa where the culture is vibrant, but we’re at the cutting edge of science and technology and knowledge. There’s no victim mentality, there’s no, ‘oh, the Dark Continent.’ We’re ahead of the pack in every area… contributing to the world—we have all the resources… That’s the world I want to see.”
Listen to the Brenthurst Foundation podcast here.