Before Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala was appointed as the Director-General of World Trade Organisation, she has served meritoriously in various capacities within and outside the country with many achievements to her name. She is full of enviable characteristics worthy of emulation by all, most especially by the younger generation looking to attain greatness.
Here are five things young people can learn from her trajectory.
- Her passion for the Development of Africa: Aside from the fact that Ngozi Okonjo Iweala had her studies in Havard and other foreign countries, there have been facts to show that all her achievements are tailored towards investment in Nigeria and Africa as a whole. For instance, she is the founder for the study of Economies in Nigeria, she authored a book – ‘The Debt Trap in Nigeria: Towards Sustainable Debt Strategy’ and the book ‘Chinua Achebe: Teacher of light’; two time Minister of Finance in Nigeria and her desires for the skills that educational institutions can birth for youths in the future.
- Her drive for politics: Understanding your country’s politics is important for the growth of not only a fundamental political and democratic right but also the crucial aspects of building a stable and peaceful society. First, for the development of policies that respond to the specific needs of younger generations and to the ongoing generation youths need to get into politics. Also, politics makes you aware and sends you the burden of your work, government, country, continent and world as a whole while the lack of it makes you disempowered and causes other people to suffer from it. One thing to note about Ngozi is that she is aware, ready and in the light. It paid off for her even during her fight for the Director-General of the World Trade Organisation. During the final stage of World Trade Organisation Ngozi Okonjo Iweala and her finalist; Yoo Myung were both former ministers of their country, Ngozi was the former Minister of Finance and Yoo Myung was a former minister of South Korean Trade. Dear youths, ‘The most important thing is power, you cannot develop in the dark, fight governance and corruption, you have to make our countries transparent!’ and you need to be or be aware of politics to do so.
- Her drive for girl child education: The story of Ngozi is one that has broken protocols. In one of her comments, she emphasizes that investing in women is smart economics, investing in girls is even smarter economics. In a world where equality seems like a mirage and seeks to keep girls in the kitchen, here is a woman whose words and actions suggest that girls have the strength and they deserve all the education and investment for the development of Nigeria.
- Her sights are for solutions not problems: She sees mirages of solutions in Africa, youths, economy; this is not an excuse to ignore the problems but in a pursuit to solve these problems. Many times, youths are so consumed with the problems they see all around that it cripples creativity, it makes us forget that there is something working; if you only focus on the problem, you will scarcely see a solution. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala fixes what is not working. Her actions are a template to erase the stigma placed on women as it pertains to work, politics, girls, development and other aspects of life: She is the first woman to be the finance minister and the foreign minister of a West African country. These are differences that youths should pursue, there are more records to break.
- Her humane and passion for the youths: ‘If you have a sense of purpose that drives you, then aim high and become a leader and make room as you go’ – Does this sound like being humane? Imagine your concept of leadership was tailored towards the goal of making room for others, selflessness will drive you to the top. Selflessness led her to break history. It is important as a youth and global leader to think this way. One of the things that makes Ngozi Okonjo Iweala wake up in the morning is fueled by the talent she sees in the young ones. She is bent on seeing young ones unleash their potential, help them be innovative and lead the way.