Nigeria's finance minister has all the experience and skill to be the next president of the World Bank. But does the bank have the courage to select its first boss from the developing world?
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is a Nigerian iron lady. When she was 15, she strapped her three-year-old, malaria-fevered sister to her back. "It was really hot, I was very hungry, I was scared because I knew her life depended on me getting to this woman [doctor]," Okonjo-Iweala recalled in 2007. "I walked 10 kilometres, putting one foot in front of the other."
When she arrived, nearly a thousand people were trying to break down the door of a makeshift clinic. Okonjo-Iweala crawled between their legs and climbed through the window, just in time for the doctor to save her sister's life. Then came the return journey. "It was the shortest walk I ever had. I was so happy that my sister was alive. Today she's 41 years old, a mother of three and she's a physician saving other lives."
From those wretched days, Okonjo-Iweala rose to become Nigeria's first female finance minister and nemesis of corruption. She has been lauded by Bono and Gordon Brown, who called her "a brilliant reformer". Now she is an outside bet for president of the World Bank, an appointment that would be a watershed moment for Africa and the developing world.[view whole blog post ]