Women who break the mold. Obiageli Ezekwesili, an exceptional woman


11/05/2022

The 19th and 20th May, a hundred of women leaders from Africa, Latin America and Europe will hold a major meeting in Madrid. Under the name ‘Women’s Bridges. Proposals from the South for global change’, they will debate the major issues of concern to the planet. The aim is to ensure that they are heard and taken into account. To this end, they will draw up a document with proposals to be presented to the international community.

In this section we introduce you to some of these leaders. They are all women who will impress you. We have had to make a choice and the decision has been based on those who are going to be coordinators of the different working groups, but you will find biographies of all the participants on this website.

Today we  introduce you to OBIAGELI EZEKWESILI  who with Ayat Mneina,  co-ordinates the working group Economic, technological and digital empowerment


It is not easy to talk about Obiageli Ezekwesili because she is an exceptional woman with a long professional, political and civic career, who has made ethics and values her banner.

An expert in economics, a tireless worker, always concerned about injustice and political corruption, we find this Nigerian at the head of numerous national and international organizations. We have also seen her at the forefront of her country, Nigeria, first as Minister of Minerals, then as Minister of Education and, in 2019, as a candidate for the presidency of Nigeria in the 2019 elections.

Ezekwesili was the World Bank’s vice president for the Africa region in Washington DC between 2007 and 2012.

She is co-founder and director of Transparency International, a German-based international anti-corruption organization, and is also a senior economic advisor to the Africa Economic Development Policy Initiative (AEDPI), an initiative that advises heads of state to chart economic reforms with inclusive growth in mind.

She is founder-CEO of Human Capital Africa (HCA), which works in the education sector across Africa, and founder of #FixPolitics, a research-based citizens’ initiative that seeks “a country where politics is inclusive, citizens’ needs are prioritized and democratic principles are respected, so that good governance is the norm”.

Seeing what the organizations in which Oby works and has worked do, it is clear that she is a woman who firmly believes in redesigning politics, in making a new model with democratic values that guarantee equal opportunities in which women are on an equal footing.

When, in 2014, Boko Haram kidnapped 300 girls from a school in Chibok, she was one of the first to call for their release. She co-founded the international campaign Bring Back Our Girls, which had a huge media impact.

It must not have been easy to reach her position in a country, Nigeria, which ranks 181 out of 193 in terms of women’s parliamentary representation, one of the lowest in Africa. On the other hand, probably due to the few advances in gender issues, there are studies that tell us that it is the country with the highest number of feminist organizations in Africa.  Oby Ezekwesili is undoubtedly a role model for them.

Her merits have received recognition and Time and New York Times magazines have placed her in the rankings of influential people.

(Translated by Alba González Pascual, Student trainee, Universidad de Alcalá de Henares)

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