Marco Mantovanelli (202) 458-7571
WASHINGTON, March 23, 2007―World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz announced today the appointment of Obiageli “Oby” Ezekwesili as Vice President for the Africa Region. Ms. Ezekwesili, a Nigerian national, will join the World Bank from her most recent position as Minister of Education within the Government of Nigeria.
Beginning May 1, she will lead the World Bank's Africa operations, which lend about $4.7 billion a year to the continent.
Ms. Ezekwesili began her career as an auditor and management consultant. She was one of the founding members of Transparency International, where she held the position Director for Africa, and also served as Special Assistant to the President of Nigeria on Budget Monitoring, and the Price Intelligence Unit, where she spear-headed institutional reforms through the establishment of due process mechanisms and strategies.
Ms. Ezekwesili subsequently served as Minister of Solid Minerals Development, with emphasis on reforming Nigeria's mining sector to internationally recognized standards. She has also served as the Chairperson for the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative since 2004 and pioneered the voluntary sign-on of Nigeria to the EITI Principles, as well as the first ever audit of the oil and gas sector.
Since June 2006, Ms. Ezekwesili has been the Minister of Education where she was tasked with leading the country's on-going comprehensive reform strategy within the education sector. The track record attesting to her innovative success in this area culminated with the Nigerian stock exchange launch of "Adopt-A-Public School Initiative" earlier this year.
“Oby's unique blend of first-hand experiences, especially in the more challenging and complex areas of energy sector reform and education, position her as the ideal candidate to serve as the Vice President for Africa,” said World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz. “Oby's life is a testament to her dedication to Africa as is the high degree of respect in which she is held by the international community. Her passion for and commitment to Africa, high degree of integrity and optimism will bring invaluable strengths to our organization.”
Ms. Ezekwesili holds a Masters in International Law and Diplomacy from University of Lagos, as well as a Masters of Public Administration from the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard. She is also a chartered accountant. She was selected for this position through a competitive international search.