Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, former finance minister and coordinating minister of the economy, did more than manage the purse of Africa’s largest economy; she fixed a plan for gender budgeting in Nigeria and perhaps the rest of the world.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) working paper on budget financing in sub-Saharan Africa, released on Thursday, acknowledges Okonjo-Iweala’s efforts for gender equality and financing across the world.
The IMF says in clear terms that the “idea of creating a Gender Equality Community of Practice (COP)” was pitched by the former minister “during the World Bank/IMF Annual Meetings in the fall of 2013”.
Okonjo-Iweala’s pitch was well-received by the World Bank Group, which set up the COP and had its first meeting on gender financing by April 13, 2014.
“The global initiative was first proposed by Nigerian Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, during the October 2013 World Bank Group/International Monetary Fund Annual Meetings,” the World Bank said.
“President Jim Yong Kim agreed to host the group’s inaugural meeting, which was organised around the theme ‘Financing for Gender Results.’”
The COP, which now has 16 countries on its board, have been making a case gender financing across the world, with viable results highlighted by the IMF on Thursday.
Okonjo-Iweala said at the COP inaugural meeting that the idea was “born out of frustration” at the lack of knowledge-sharing and scaling-up of innovative initiatives through the budget