Okonjo-Iweala, Nigeria’s former Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister for Finance has disclosed she is joining a US based investment Bank, Lazard and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance as Chair of the Board. “The two appointments I’m going to undertake embody a continuation of what I’ve tried to do in my career”, the former Minister told Financial Times. At Lazard, Okonjo-iweala will be joining Sovereign Advice division, a department that provides advisory services on sovereign bonds to governments from across the globe. In a similar development, a statement posted on Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance’s website says “Dr Okonjo-Iweala will bring more than 33 years of development and financial expertise to the Gavi Board at a critical period for immunisation in developing countries”
Full Press Statement from Okonjo-Iweala
Okonjo-Iweala Named To Two Key International Positions
Former Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has accepted two key international positions.
The first is to serve as Chair of the 28-member Board of the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation, GAVI, (http://www.gavi.org/about/), an international public-private partnership committed to saving the lives of children and protecting people’s health by improving access to immunization in developing countries, including Nigeria.
Dr Okonjo-Iweala was elected to the position after a competitive international search process.
GAVI is a $12 billion multilateral partnership which disburses grants of upwards of $1.8 billion annually to developing countries for immunization programmes.
GAVI brings together developing countries and donor governments, the World Health Organization, UNICEF, the World Bank, the vaccine industry in both industrialized and developing countries, research and technical agencies, civil society, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and other private philanthropists.
GAVI is funded by governments of Australia, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, the People’s Republic of China, Republic of Korea, Russia, South Africa, Spain, the State of Qatar, the Sultanate of Oman, Sweden, United Kingdom, and the United States as well as the European Commission, the OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID) and other institutional and corporate partners.
It will be recalled that, from 2000-2015, GAVI disbursed $425m in grants to Nigeria, an average of about $30m per annum for vaccination and immunization of children, including polio vaccines.
Dr Okonjo-Iweala succeeds Dagfinn Høybråten, a former Norwegian Minister of Health and current Secretary General of the Nordic Council of Ministers as Chair of GAVI.
Previous Chairs include Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland and respected education activist and former First Lady of South Africa, Graca Machel.
In the second appointment, the former Managing Director of the World Bank has also joined the highly respected 167-year-old global investment firm, Lazard (https://www.lazard.com/) as Senior Advisor. Her focus will be sovereign advisory.
“We are proud to welcome Dr. Okonjo-Iweala as a Senior Advisor to our world-leading sovereign advisory group,” said Matthieu Pigasse, Global Head of M&A and Sovereign Advisory of Lazard. “She will bring a unique international expertise and experience that will benefit both our sovereign and corporate clients.”
At Lazard, Dr Okonjo-Iweala will work alongside colleagues including former Prime Minister of Australia, Paul Keating; former Special adviser to President Bill Clinton, Vernon Jordan; former Spanish Economy Minister and current Snr Managing Director at Lazard, Rodrigo de Rato; former chair of NASDAQ, Frank Zarb; former Finance Minister of Chile, Andres Velasco; and former British Minister of Parliament/Secretary of State for International Development, Andrew Mitchell.
In her reaction to the two appointments, Dr Okonjo-Iweala who will be working out of Paris, Geneva and London said:
“I am excited to be embarking on this fresh journey. The two appointments will enable me to continue doing what I know best – rendering public service and using my financial and economist skills. I thank the international community for the recognition and continued support. I am also grateful for the prayers and support of many Nigerians”.
For more details, please check the GAVI and Lazard websites. Thank you.
Paul C Nwabuikwu
Media Adviser to Dr Okonjo-Iweala
Abuja, September 21, 2015