Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO), Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has applauded Ghana’s Finance team for its efforts to restructure the country’s debts.
Speaking at a discussion hosted by the Institute of Economic Affairs on the theme “Making Globalization Work for Africa,” Dr Okonjo-Iweala, who has twice served as Nigeria’s Finance Minister, praised Ghana’s Finance team for its efforts in ensuring the debt restructuring program’s success.
“I believe that the Finance Team in Ghana is working hard and is doing the right things. They know that they have to embark on some reports in order to make this debt restructuring or forgiveness work.”
Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala also urged the government to take steps to guarantee that the debt restructuring scheme would not result in a future debt overhang.
“Thinking about the future is also important. It is not enough to get debt forgiveness. You have to apply strict fiscal rules to prevent that from happening in the future at least. If debt serving is eating up debt revenue, then you need a fiscal rule servicing your debt should not exceed a certain percentage of your revenue”, she cautioned.
Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, is on a two-day visit to Ghana meeting policymakers, business leaders and civil society representatives while underscoring the WTO’s commitment to reinforcing support to Sub-Saharan Africa.
She met with Ghana’s President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, to interact with female entrepreneurs and participate in a discussion on the theme: “Making Globalisation Work for Africa”.
Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the seventh Director-General of the WTO, took office on March 1, 2021, becoming the first woman and the first African to serve as Director-General.
She is a global finance expert, an economist and international development professional with over 30 years of experience working in Asia, Africa, Europe, Latin America and North America. Dr Okonjo-Iweala was formerly the Board Chair of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance previously on the Boards of Standard Chartered PLC and Twitter Inc.
She was appointed as African Union (AU) Special Envoy to mobilise international financial support for the fight against COVID-19 and WHO Special Envoy for Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator.
Previously, Dr Okonjo-Iweala twice served as Nigeria’s Finance Minister (2003-2006 and 2011-2015) and briefly acted as Foreign Minister in 2006, the first woman to hold both positions.
She had a 25-year career at the World Bank as a development economist, rising to the second position of Managing Director, Operations. She is renowned as the first female and African candidate to contest for the presidency of the World Bank Group in 2012, backed by Africa and major developing countries in the first truly contestable race for the world’s highest development finance post.
As Managing Director of the World Bank, she had oversight responsibility for the World Bank’s $81 billion operational portfolio in Africa, South Asia, Europe and Central Asia.
Dr Okonjo-Iweala spearheaded several World Bank initiatives to assist low-income countries during the 2008-2009 food crisis and later during the financial crisis. In 2010, she was Chair of the World Bank’s successful drive to raise $49.3 billion in grants and low-interest credit for the poorest countries in the world.