Twitter appoints Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala to Board of Directors

A former Nigerian Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has been appointed into the board of social media giant, Twitter Inc.Mrs Okonjo-Iweala, who served in the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan, was appointed alongside Robert Zoellick as new independent directors with immediate effect, Twitter said Thursday.According to the Executive Chairman of Twitter, Omid Kordestani, Mrs Okonjo-Iweala would be an incredible asset for the company as it strives toward transparency in its global operations.

“Ngozi and Bob are distinguished leaders with unparalleled global perspective and policy expertise,” he said. “We are confident they will be incredible assets to Twitter as we continue to focus on driving transparency and making Twitter a safer, healthier place for everyone who uses our service.” In her response, Mrs Okonjo- Iweala acknowledged that she is thrilled by the appointment while assuring Twitter of maximising its influence for the good of the global society.

She said, “Twitter is a powerful platform that continues to be used as a strong connector for the global community , and I ’m thrilled to be a part of the team. “As we strive to build a better world for tomorrow, Twitter can amplify messages and drive critical conversations around today ’s most important issues . I look forward to partnering with Twitter’ s talented directors and leadership team as we work to leverage the power of Twitter for good.” In a followup tweet on her official handle, @NOIweala, the former minister expressed words of appreciation to the company for the appointment “Excited to work with @Jack and an incredible team on the Board of Twitter, a global platform that is such a strong connector of people and ideas,” her tweet read

Okonjo-Iweala served twice as Nigeria’s Finance Minister and also as Minister of Foreign Affairs. She was the first female to hold both positions. During her first term as Minister of Finance under president Obasanjo’s Administration, she spearheaded negotiations with the Paris Club of Creditors that led to the wiping out of US$30 billion of Nigeria’s debt, including the outright cancellation of US$18 billion. In 2003 she led efforts to improve Nigeria’s macroeconomic management including the implementation of an oil-price based fiscal rule where revenues accruing above a reference benchmark oil price were saved in a special account, “The Excess Crude Account” which helped to reduce macroeconomic volatility.

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She also introduced the practice of publishing each state’s monthly financial allocation from the Federal Government of Nigeria in the newspapers. This action went a long way in increasing transparency in governance.[6] With the support of the World Bank and the IMF to the Federal Government of Nigeria, she helped build an electronic financial management platform-the Government Integrated Financial Management and Information System (GIFMIS), including the Treasury Single Account (TSA) and the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS), helping to curtail corruption in the process. As at 31 December 2014, the IPPIS platform for example had eliminated 62,893 ghost workers from the system and saved the Nigerian government about $1.25 billion in the process.

Okonjo-Iweala was also instrumental in helping Nigeria obtain its first ever sovereign credit rating (of BB minus) from Fitch Ratings and Standard & Poor’s in 2006.Following her first term as Minister of Finance, she returned to the World Bank as a Managing Director in December 2007. Okonjo-Iweala had also previously spent the first 21 years of her career as a development economist at the World Bank. As Managing Director, she had oversight responsibility for the World Bank’s $81 billion operational portfolio in Africa, South Asia, Europe and Central Asia.

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Okonjo-Iweala spearheaded several World Bank initiatives to assist low-income countries during the 2008 – 2009 food crises and later during the financial crisis. In 2010, she was chair of the IDA replenishment, World Bank’s successful drive to raise $49.3 billion in grants and low interest credit for the poorest countries in the world. During her time at the World Bank, she was also a member of the Commission on Effective Development Cooperation with Africa which was set up by the Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen of Denmark and held meetings between April and October 2008.

In 2011, Okonjo-Iweala was reappointed as Minister of Finance in Nigeria with the expanded portfolio of the Coordinating Minister for the Economy by President Goodluck Jonathan. Her legacy includes strengthening Nigeria’s public financial systems, stimulating the housing sector with the establishment of the Nigerian Mortgage Refinance Corporation (NMRC). She also empowered Nigeria’s women and youth with the Growing Girls and Women in Nigeria Programme (GWIN); a gender responsive budgeting system and the highly acclaimed Youth Enterprise with Innovation programme (YouWIN); a highly acclaimed programme to support entrepreneurs that created thousands of jobs.

 

This programRelated image has been evaluated by the World Bank as one of the most effective programmes of its kind globally. Under her leadership, the National Bureau of Statistics carried out a rebasing exercise; the first in 24 years, which saw Nigeria emerge as the largest economy in Africa. She took a lot of heat, more so than any other government official for the fuel subsidy removal policy by the Nigerian government, which led to protests in January 2012. In May 2016, the new Nigerian administration eventually removed the fuel subsidy after it became apparent that it was unsustainable and inefficient.

In September 2015, she joined Lazard as a Senior Advisor and in January 2016 she was appointed Chair of the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI).She is co-chair of the Global Commission for the Economy and Climate, with Nicholas Stern and Paul Polman. In July 2017, she was named the independent non-executive director at standard Chartered PLC, which will be effective from November 1, 2017 Jack Dorsey announced on July 19, 2018 that Okonjo-Iweala would join Twitter’s Board of Directors