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World Bank Managing Director in town

Feb 11, 2010, 12:44 PM

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the World Bank Managing Director, who is expected to meet President Jammeh, yesterday arrived in Banjul, according to a statement from the World Bank Dakar office

"She will also meet with the Vice-President Dr. Isatou Njie-Saidy and key cabinet members," the statement added.

According to Mr. Habib Fetini, World Bank Country Director for The Gambia, "this visit is an opportunity to deepen the bank's good relationship and dialogue with The Gambia's leadership, while emphasising our support for improving private sector development and rural development, as well as education and public sector management."

The Managing Director will visit the Business Park that had been established with the support of the IDA-funded Gateway Project Business and the Gambia Groundnut Company.

A Ph.D.  Holder in Regional Economics and Development, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala was Minister of Foreign Affairs of Nigeria, overseeing Nigeria's External Relations. From July 2003 to June 2006, she served as Minister of Finance and Economy of Nigeria and Head of Nigeria's much acclaimed Presidential Economic team, responsible for implementing a comprehensive home-grown economic reform programme that stabilised the macro-economy and tripled the growth rate to an average 6 percent per annum over 3 years.

Her achievements as Finance Minister garnered international recognition for improving Nigeria's financial stability and fostering greater fiscal transparency to combat corruption.

In October 2005, she led the Nigerian team that negotiated the cancellation of US $18 billion or 60 percent of Nigeria's external debt with the Paris Club. The debt deal also included an innovative buy-back mechanism that wiped out Nigeria's Paris club debt and reduced the country's external indebtedness from US$35 to US$5 billion.

Dr. Okonjo-Iweala oversaw Nigeria's first-ever sovereign credit rating of BB- from Fitch and Standard and Poor's-a rating that grouped Nigeria with other emerging market countries, such as Brazil, Vietnam, Venezuela and Philippines.

Previously she pursued a 21-year career as a development economist at the World Bank, where she held the post of Vice-President and Corporate Secretary. This included two tours of duty (six years) working in the East Asia Region, the last tour (1997-2000) as Country Director Malaysia, Mongolia, Laos and Cambodia during the East Asian financial crisis; two duty tours in the Middle East Region, the last (2000-2003) as Director, Operations (deputy Vice-President) of the region.

Dr. Okonjo-Iweala also served as Director of Institutional Change and Strategy (1995-1997). In this post she assisted with the implementation of the bank's reform agenda. From 1989 to 1991, she was special assistant to the Senior Vice-President, operations, an assignment that enabled participation in high level policy formulation and discussions for countries as diverse as China and Burkina Faso.