By Ogova Ondego
Published May 20, 2015
A Nigerian Cabinet Minister has received an honorary Doctorate degree from one of United States of America’s leading institutions of higher learning.
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Finance Minister of Africa’s most populous country who received a Doctor of Humane Letters at Yale University’s 2015 Commencement Ceremony on May 18, 2015, becomes the second Nigerian in 314-year history of Yale to receive its highest honour after Nobel Laureate, Wole Soyinka, who was awarded an honorary Doctor of Letters in 1980.
Giving out the award, the President of the University, Professor Peter Salovey, described Okonjo-Iweala as “a brilliant reformer and dedicated public servant” who “has spearheaded efforts to stabilize and grow Nigeria’s economy, battling widespread government corruption and creating greater fiscal transparency and discipline.”
A media statement issued by Constance Ikokwu, Media Adviser to the Minister of Finance of Nigeria, says that Okonjo-Iweala “helped Nigeria obtain debt relief, wiping out US$30 billion of Paris club debt” that led to the “tripling of the growth rates.”
“The second time around as Finance Minister in 2011,” the statement adds, “Okonjo-Iweala has focused on building solid foundations and institutions critical for the survival and sustenance of the economy. She bravely fought corruption in governance with fierce dedication and unflagging energy.”
Also honoured alongside Okonjo-Iweala by Yale that has in the past bestowed honorary degrees on Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu was Beninoise Singer and songwriter, Angelique Kidjo.
Meanwhile, Roberts U Orya, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Export-Import Bank (NEXIM), has been elected Honorary President of the Global Network of Export-Import Banks and Development Finance Institutions (G-NEXID).
“G-NEXID, with a membership of 24 institutions, was established in March 2006 at the joint initiative of Exim Bank of India and United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), as a platform to boost South-South trade and investment relations. The primary objective of the Network was to serve as a channel to bridge the gap between financing of trade and the achievement of the development goals of developing and emerging economies by fostering South-to-South trade flows. Specific to this goal was tackling the difficulties associated with access to trade finance in the fragile markets of the South aimed at spurring and stabilizing economic growth.”