Okonjo-Iweala takes American citizenship

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

A former minister of finance Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has taken American citizenship — more than three decades after she studied in the United States.

Mrs Okonjo-Iweala, who is running for the office of the director-general of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), took US citizenship in 2019, her spokesperson told Bloomberg on Wednesday.

Okonjo-Iweala arrived in the US in the 1970s to attend Harvard University where she raised four children and worked for 25 years at the World Bank.

Although, two of the candidates running for the WTO top job boast of dual citizenship, Okonjo-Iweala did not state hers as it is not a requirement.

The Nigerian and Kenya’s Amina Mohamed have emerged as front-runners to succeed Roberto Azevedo who officially stepped down on Monday as WTO boss.

Okonjo-Iweala ran for the president of the World Bank in 2012 without the backing of the United States and lost to Korean-American Jim Yong Kim.

She got the backing of Africa’s richest man Aliko Dangote on Tuesday for the WTO top role.