Nigeria’s Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala was recently announced as the winner of the African Finance Minister of the Year by AfricaInvestor in recognition of her efforts at driving economic growth and increasing foreign direct investment in Africa’s largest economy.
The award was presented by Africa Investor, a leading international investment and communications group and was presented to her at the Ritz Carlton Hotel as part of events at the ongoing IMF/World Bank Annual Meetings in Washington DC.
At the event, she called on all investors in Africa to join the fight against the deadly Ebola virus disease that is ravaging some countries in West Africa.
“What is happening in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra-Leone and the success we had in Nigeria and Senegal in containing this virus should not be allowed to set Africa back.
“You as private sector and friends of Africa need to send the message that we should not be so afraid of Ebola that we stigmatise the whole continent.
“I think that it is only with your own leadership, as African investors, that the rest of the world can see which way they should pass. So, I am really urging you to be ambassadors to the continent,” she said.
Okonjo-Iweala said that in spite of the challenges facing the continent, African leaders should sustain the successes recorded in the past.
These challenges, she said, include infrastructure, governance, poor education system, employment, corruption, among others.
“We are not shying away from these challenges but the turning point now is that we are in the continent where we have the political will and confidence to tackle these challenges.
“I think that we as Africans must always take the lead because if we don’t solve our problems, nobody can do it for us.”
Okonjo-Iweala called for continuous partnership with the private sector, donor agencies and non-governmental organisations.