Okonjo-Iweala has received numerous recognitions and awards. Dr. Okonjo-Iweala has been listed as one of the 50 Greatest World Leaders (Fortune, 2015), the Top 100 Most Influential People in the World (TIME, 2014), the Top 100 Global Thinkers (Foreign Policy, 2011 and 2012), the Top 100 Most Powerful Women in the World (Forbes, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014), the Top 3 Most Powerful Women in Africa (Forbes, 2012), the Top 10 Most Influential Women in Africa (Forbes, 2011), the Top 100 Women in the World (The Guardian, 2011), the Top 150 Women in the World (Newsweek, 2011), the Top 100 most inspiring people in the World Delivering for Girls and Women (Women Deliver, 2011). She received the Women’s Economic Empowerment Award from WEConnect International (2017) and was listed among 73 “brilliant” business influencers in the world by Condé Nast International.
In 2017, Dr Okonjo-Iweala received the Vanguard Award from Howard University. She also received the Madeleine K. Albright Global Development Award from the Aspen Institute. In 2016, she received the Power with Purpose Award from the Devex Development Communications Network and the Global Fairness Award from the Global Fairness Initiative, and she was also conferred High National Honours from the Republic of Cote d’Ivoire and the Republic of Liberia. She is also the recipient of Nigeria's Commander of the Federal Republic (CFR). In addition, Dr Okonjo-Iweala has been awarded the David Rockefeller Bridging Leadership Award (2014), the President of the Italian Republic Gold Medal by the Pia Manzu Centre (2011), the Global Leadership Award by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs (2011) the Global Leadership Award by the Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs (2010), and the Bishop John T. Walker Distinguished Humanitarian Service Award (2010). She is also the recipient of the TIME’s European Heroes Award in 2004, named Finance Minister of the Year (Africa Investor Magazine, 2014), Finance Minister of the Year for Africa and the Middle East (THE BANKER, 2004), Global Finance Minister of the Year (EUROMONEY, 2005), Finance Minister of the Year for Africa and the Middle East (Emerging Markets Magazine, 2005), and Minister of the Year (THISDAY, 2004 and 2005).
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Previously, Okonjo-Iweala spent a 25-year career at the World Bank as a development economist, rising through the ranks to the No. 2 position of Managing Director, Operations (2007-2011). She also served two terms as Finance Minister of Nigeria (2003-2006, 2011-2015) under the leadership of President Olusegun Obasanjo and President Goodluck Jonathan respectively.