Diversifying developing economies require a social compact, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the former finance minister of Nigeria, explains in a CGD podcast.
Cared for by her grandmother in a village in Nigeria, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is emphatic that her experiences as a child are what led her into a career in public service and development.
“I lived some of the issues that people are concerned about in development,” she explains in a Center for Global Development podcast.
These days, Okonjo-Iweala is widely known as a leading figure in development. She served as finance minister of Nigeria from 2011 to 2015, and as foreign affairs minister before that — the first woman to hold either of those positions.
As finance minister, Okonjo-Iweala oversaw a plan to reduce Nigeria’s debt burden by $30 billion, helping to boost Nigeria's economy. Today, Okonjo-Iweala is a CGD board member and distinguished visiting fellow, and her recent essay, “Six Questions African Policymakers Must Answer Now,” has been getting attention around the world.
She joined Rajesh Mirchandani, vice president of communications and policy outreach at the CGD, in a podcast to discuss those questions, which include: How will African policymakers finance the global goals? How can African countries diversify their economies?
“If you truly want to diversify, you need a plan,” Okonjo-Iweala says. “In a democracy… you need a social compact where the population agrees that no matter who takes over the government, they’re going to continue developing certain things in certain ways.”
"That’s not happening in many of our countries," she says in the podcast:
(Top image: Courtesy of Evgeni Zotov)
This piece first appeared on the Center for Global Development’s site.
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is a former finance minister of Nigeria, and a distinguished visiting fellow at the Center for Global Development.
Rajesh Mirchandani is Vice President of Communications and Policy Outreach at the Center for Global Development.
All views expressed are those of the author.