Nigerian-born Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), has been named among the Financial Times’ 25 most influential women of 2021.

Okonjo-Iweala was listed as number one on the list of FT’s annual Women of the Year put together by the medium’s panel made up of seasoned journalists.

The list also has some of the most influential women in the world including Jane Fraser, Christine Lagarde, Elizabeth Warren, Billie Jean King, Malala and Greta Thunberg.

Writing on the list, FT said:

“We put the list together in collaboration with FT journalists from dozens of international bureaus, former women of the year and readers like you.


“Across continents, industries and issues, all of these remarkable women have shaped this tumultuous year. Each of them is sure to help shape the better ones to come.”

In a separate citation, Christen Lagarde, the president of the European Central Bank, described Okonjo-Iweala as a fierce and talented a competitor.

“Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is as fierce and talented a competitor as she is a caring friend; and it came as no surprise to me when she was appointed to the helm of the WTO in March this year.

“With the pandemic disrupting an international trade network that was already being challenged by rising protectionism, and with vaccine nationalism a major threat to the global economy, the world needed a strong leader.

“I have known Ngozi since 2005 and have seen her work tirelessly as a seasoned negotiator and crisis manager.

“Her 25 years at the World Bank demonstrated her resolve, including her handling of the food and financial crisis of 2008-09 and her determination to recover stolen assets.

“She has shattered glass ceilings with her complete competence, absolute integrity and good humour, becoming the first female Finance Minister and Foreign Minister in Nigeria, where she implemented tough reforms to enhance the transparency of the country’s public finances, and is the first woman and first African to lead the WTO.

“Ngozi is a force to be reckoned with.