#PowerwithPurpose: Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala remains one of the world’s most powerful women

“Glad to be honoured on the 2016 ‪#‎PowerwithPurpose‬ Roll,” Nigeria’s former finance minister announced on her Facebook page, two days ago. “Ever committed to ‘Do Good’ and ‘Do it Well,” she added, echoing the slogan of Devex, a media platform for the world’s largest international development, global health, and humanitarian community. Devex recently published their #PowerwithPurpose list comprising of five powerful women who continue to shape and influence the world around them.

The idea for the Power with Purpose list was borne out of a careful observance of the heroes solving some of the worlds most pressing problems. “Take a close look at the world’s most pressing problems and you’ll find women tackling them,” says Devex. “It’s this reality that has led Devex to launch a leadership recognition for the most influential women in our community.” As such, Dr. Okonjo Iweala has been recognised as one of the outstanding women who have championed change in the world.

Devex lauded the 61-year-old for her fight against corruption and tackling poverty, during her time as the finance minister. The platform also bestowed this honour upon her for her current contribution and commitment to increasing access to immunisation and strengthening health systems in poor countries, as the chair-elect of Gavi Alliance. On the meaning of purpose, Dr. Iweala says, “It is being directed to achieve something concrete and specific,” which is exactly what she has done in Nigeria and beyond.

Credit -Devex
Credit -Devex

As a two-time Minister of Finance, Dr. Iweala has led negotiations that resulted in the clearing of US$30 billion of Nigeria’s external debt. She also fought fiercely against corruption and the reckless embezzlement of public funds that is synonymous with public office holders in Nigeria. Although her unwavering stance for what is right earned her some enemies within the government, it has also earned her a reputation of being an intelligent, efficient woman in the international community as well as the title, “Guardian of Nigeria’s public funds.”

“Stand up for what is right, have a backbone and keep trying to make a difference. Whatever happens to you, you know you went down fighting.” – Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

Dr. Okonjo-Iweala is no stranger to awards, or being honoured; she has appeared on the Forbes list of the world’s most powerful women several times and in 2014, she was listed in Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People. Prior to that, she had won Time Magazine’s European Hero of the Year Award in 2004 and in 2005, she was Euromoney Magazine’s Global Finance Minister of the year. Whether it’s an award, or a new appointment, this woman is a force to be reckoned with and she shows no sign of slowing down.

Other recognized women on the list include Christiana Figueres, a Costa Rican diplomat and internationally recognised leader in the field of global climate change; Eleni Gabre-Madhin, an Ethiopian economist and an internationally recognised thought leader on commodity exchanges and rural development in Africa; Fayeeza Naqvi co-founder and chairman of the Aman Foundation, a private philanthropic trust in Pakistan transforming lives through healthcare and education and Kristalina Georgieva, a Bulgarian economist and global humanitarian.

Watch the Power with Purpose video below:

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