On Wednesday, March 28th, the Wilson Center, alongside the Tony Elumelu Foundation, CAMAC Energy Inc., and the Whitaker Group, hosted a reception and tribute in honor of Obiageli Ezekwesili, who will be leaving her post at the World Bank as Vice President for the Africa region, a position she has held for five years.
She was honored by members of the African Ambassador Corps, business and policy leaders, and representatives from the World Bank, the IMF, civil society and NGOs. Tributes were delivered by Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), Dr. Rajiv Shah, Administrator of the US Agency for International Development, former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, who spoke via video remarks, Tony Elumelu, and H.E. Paul Kagame, President of the Republic of Rwanda. The President praised Dr. Ezekwsili’s work at the World Bank, saying that she was skilled at condensing complicated arguments into accessible messages, which are made even stronger by her blunt nature. Furthermore, he declared that her work has left the World Bank better suited to serve Africa.
Dr. Ezekwesili was formerly the Minister of Education and the Minister of Mines and Minerals for the Federal Republic of Nigeria. During her tenure at the World Bank, lending to Africa rose to over $40 billion. Rosa Whitaker, CEO and President of the Whitaker Group, and Steve McDonald, Director of the Wilson Center’s Africa Program, presented Dr. Ezekwesili with an award to honor her achievements.