In spite of many odds that limit attainment of potentials at home, Nigeria is stepping forward to register its nationals in the global hall of fame.The country is feeding the wider world with talented and able people, as it continually advances the pace of moving from huge potentials to great accomplishments in growing the entrepreneurial class.

As challenges facing the world continue to unfold in both dimensions and magnitude, gifted people across nations step out to offer innovative solutions towards a better future for the world. Nigeria puts up an impressive presence in the roll call of people and nations capable of life transforming ideas and actions at the global stage.

At an ever-increasing pace with a rapidly growing number, Nigerians are breaking free from the many clobbering internal struggles and challenges to activate the potential of their nation to be a key regional and international player.

What’s in the Nigerian?

Determination of the Nigerian to take risk in the effort to overwrite the usually pestering family backgrounds is considered to be the key element that sets people on the right course of succeeding. Whenever that ambition meets an opportunity, it is found to ignite a big breakthrough.

This is the story of most of Nigerians that have excelled at various levels across the works of life.It is found to be the underlying strength that keeps the nation’s economic future optimistic. The people are the reason why the Nigerian economy survives the worst phases of oil earnings volatility.

Developments are gradually turning good attention to discover what is in the Nigerian that keeps him and his nation getting along through the vicissitudes of boom and depression. The discovery is that there is a quality in the Nigerian that makes him excel whenever he gets an opportunity anywhere in the world.

It’s no more oil but human capital export

Prof Andrew Nevin, chief economist at Price Water Coopers (PWC) Nigeria, unveiled this rare quality in a report on Nigeria’s economic outlook for 2019. “Nigeria is not an oil economy and our biggest export is not oil … Our biggest export is Nigerians”, he revealed.

Nevin brings the meaning of this development down to the level of a kindergarten. What it means, he said, is that it is Nigerians in Diaspora that are holding up the economy at home through remittances.

Nigeria is in the top five nations in global remittances ranking and the highest in the Sub-Saharan Africa – a firm indication of its supply of one of the world’s largest and high-quality human capital to the global productive community.

Nigeria’s large and growing earnings from human capital export underscore the tremendous contribution of its people to virtually every productive activity on earth. Migrant remittance inflow constitutes a growing percentage of national GDP. It is several times larger than net official development assistance and foreign direct investment inflow put together. It is headed to exceed the federal budget.

Diaspora earnings have become Nigeria’s most important source of external financing, supplying more foreign exchange to the Central Bank of Nigeria than all other sources put together. The bank’s recent incentive on remittance inflow reflects this understanding.

Honour to whom it is due

The Nigerian men and women that are churning out these positive indices through their superior contributions on the world stage need global recognition as well. This is both as a motivational factor to do more and to spur others, particularly the youth into positive actions to step out into the league of Nigerians making innovative waves at global level.

For this purpose, The Top10 Magazine fashioned this special edition on Top 10 Nigerians occupying prime executive positions at key international organizations around the world. The study yielded a revelation of a large number of people that have risen from humble beginnings to occupy respected positions at the global stage.

The top 10 final listing is indeed a small extract of the league of Nigeria’s professional and entrepreneurial class that has made its marks in the world and yet making greater promises for the future. It consists of men and women of great accomplishments in their careers that are paving the way forward for the world through innovation.

Who made the list?

Among them are renowned technocrats tested and trusted in all ramifications of global economic policy and financial markets governance. Some are accomplished personalities that have excelled on how to apply resources to lift humanity to break free from the cycle of poverty and building internal capacities in the African continent and beyond.

There are among them professionals shinning as beacons of hope for the world through unequaled exploits in medical science and a light of optimism in a world saddened by coronavirus pandemic.

In the list also are development experts, steering the world through the health crisis and developmental challenges at the United Nations and creating stability for the world oil producers and consumers at OPEC.

The list includes Nigerians, who are in charge at key international development centres such as Commonwealth Scholarship Board, UN Global Impact Board – the world’s largest corporate sustainability initiative and at the world’s court of last resort – the International Criminal Court.

The finding

The study has a key finding that is pertinent to policymakers in the government house. It is that the common denominator for the success attained by these outstanding Nigerians lies offshore –the opportunity they found abroad that is lacking at home.

The opportunity is the reason why only 20 million Nigeria’s migrant population – one-tenth of the nation’s headcount is able to remit earnings that now exceed the federal budget. This opens the door of great expectations that should Nigeria add the missing opportunity to the resilience of its people, the nation has a far greater potential to lead the world in knowledge and innovation than what has been attained!

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala Director General, World Trade Organization (WTO)

Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the newly appointed director general, World Trade Organization (WTO), assumes a status in the multilateral body that only a few females have ever attained. Her portrait hangs at WTO’s Geneva lakeside headquarters in honour and recognition of the competence of a Nigerian to lead global trade out of distress.

She takes over the headship of WTO at the most challenging time in history. Global trade is hunted by a historic and long standing US-China conflict, pressures to reform trade rules from many quarters and heightened protectionism under the Covid-19 pandemic.

Her belief in applying trade as an instrument to lift people out of poverty went all the way for her in clinching the top job at WTO. Creating a cordial environment for international trade talks and brokering a new trade agreement is the task ahead of Okonjo-Iweala at WTO. But she has a clear conviction of what to do.

“What it needs is someone who has the capability to drive reform, who knows trade and who does not want to see business as usual and that is me,” she said. Her priority is to position the organization to smoothen the disparities in Covid-19 vaccine distribution between the rich and the poor countries.

Getting members to lift export restrictions on medical items is a key element of her immediate engagement. Her plan is to build a framework on pandemic response “so that next time, we don’t waste time trying to figure out how to respond”, she said. To Mr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General, World Health Organisation, Okonjo-Iweala is “WTO’s perfect chief”.

Okonjo-Iweala presents a positive front and a way forward in the US-China trade stalemate. She promises to align her interests and priorities with Washington’s – to get WTO back to its purpose as aglobal arbiter of trade disputes.

The US has found in her a constructive partner, according to the country’s delegate and has expressed full commitment to working closely with her. China is quite impressed with the new leadership of the trade body and its delegate has pledged full supportfor the new boss of world trade.

EU is full of expectations of a great transformation that Okonjo-Iweala will bring about atWTO. The union’strade commissioner, Valdis Dombrovskis, said he is looking forward to working closely with her to drive the “much-needed reform of the institution”.

Former WTO chief, Pascal Lamy, sees Okonjo-Iweala as a good choice in view of her ability to operate in the centre of a “US-EU-China triangle”, according to Reuters.”She brings stature, she brings experience, a network and a temperament of trying to get things done, which is quite a welcome lot in my view,” he said.

Mr. Kingsley Moghalu, former deputy governor of theCentral Bank of Nigeria, who worked with her when she served as finance minister, affirms her dogged determination and persistence to get great things accomplished for the world.

To President Muhammadu Buhari, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the appointment of Okonjo-Iweala to lead WTO brought “more joy and honour to the country”.

At the core of the reforms envisaged at WTO is a change of rules for China particularly, among developing countries, in reflection of the country’s rapid economic growth.

Also, top on the ‘to-do-list’ is the deadlock over waiving intellectual property rights for Covid-19 drugs, to which many developed countries are opposed. Again, securing a deal on fisheries subsidies, which is the subject of the WTO’s main multilateral talks that failed to be concluded at the end of 2020, is another immediate issue on the table.

Okonjo-Iweala is facing the daunting challenges at WTO with the spirit of ‘reforming the un-reformable’ – which is the title of her book. The book was on her role in fixing Nigeria’s broken down institutions. Expectedly, she has put together all the strategies and expertise she has applied before to excel in her previous jobs to tackle the tasks ahead at WTO.

While she served as minister of finance in Nigeria, Okonjo-Iweala crafted policies that powered economic growth to the extent of achieving an average of 6 percent GDP growth per annum over a space of three years. She spearheaded reform programmes that improved fiscal transparency, re-balanced government expenditure to step up capital spending and build up economic buffers to ensure stability across market cycles.

She initiated processes that reduced macroeconomic volatility and helped to improve overall macroeconomic management quality. She brought into governance, initiatives that blocked major loopholes for corruption, reinforced budget implementation process, tackled excessive recurrent spending and renewed the confidence of investors in the Nigeria economy.

While she was finance minister, she secured a debt exit deal with Paris Club of creditors that relieved Nigeria of a debt burden of over $30 billion. The debt exit provided the nation a new opportunity for rapid economic development.

Her tenure in the finance ministry launched Nigerian banking into the cashless policy that closed the loopholes for money laundering and opened the chapter for the development of modern electronic banking channels. The cashless policy, modernized the payments system, reduced the cost of currency management and the risk of moving cash.

She spearheaded the establishment of sovereign wealth fund in 2011 – a special purpose investment vehicle for national governments that have become a key component of global assets under institutional management. In 2015, Nigeria’s fund was ranked the second most transparent sovereign authority in the world in the year 2014 by Linaburg-Maduell. The survey covered fifty-one global sovereign wealth authorities and Nigeria’s was the only African sovereign wealth authority that made it to the ranking.

Nigeria’s hosting of the World Economic Forum on Africa in 2014 is yet another major feat accomplished by Okonjo-Iweala. She placed Nigeria on a global record of being the second country in sub-Saharan Africa after South Africa to host the forum.

The apex regional economic summit, organized by the Switzerland-based World Economic Forum, brought together Africa’s best intellectuals from across economic sectors to deliberate on the continent’s most pressing socio-economic issues. The event attracted close to $70 billion in new investments to the African continent and reached a global audience of about 2.1 billion people through the social media, according to official estimates.

During her tenure as the finance minister and coordinating minister for the economy, Nigeria re-based its GDP for the first time in 24 years. Out of the exercise, the country emerged as Africa’s largest economy, a big milestone attained towards joining the club of the world’s 20 largest economies.

Okonjo-Iweala is the first female finance minister and the first female foreign affairs minister in Nigeria. She put in 25 years at World Bank as a development economist, rising through the ranks to the number two position as the bank’s managing director.She is also the first female and black candidate to contest for the presidency of World Bank Group in 2012. A renowned economist and international development expert, she holds many honours and doctorate degrees from several renowned universities in the world, including an A.B. in Economics from Harvard University and a Ph.D. in Regional Economics and Development from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Akinwunmi Adesina 

Akinwunmi Adesina President of African Development Bank (AfDB) Group

Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina is president of African Development Bank (AfDB) Group and has been on the saddle of the bank’s leadership since 2015. Since then he has pursued strategic goals and growth initiatives anchored on his High 5 Strategy’. These are expressed as light up and power Africa, feed Africa, industrialize Africa, integrate Africa and improve the quality of life for the people of Africa. 

He has moved Africa in the key development fronts identified in the strategic agenda. AfDB has a bold agenda of delivering universal access to power in Africa in ten years. The targets are the 645 million Africans who lack access to electricity.

According to AfDB’s estimates, up 4.4 million were connected to electricity in 2017, 8.5 million people received support in the agricultural activity in the same year and 14 million people benefited from infrastructural investments in the transportation sector across the continent. 

Adesina has been a motivating force to the African youth into entrepreneurship, particularly in the field of agriculture. His plan is to develop the next generation of leaders with a new mindset of modern value-chain driven agricultural enterprise. This, he believes is a strategic imperative for unlocking the fullness of the wealth of African economies.

As head of the foremost development financial institution in Africa, Adesina is passionate about mobilizing resources from far and near to end poverty in Africa.“My life is only worth living to the extent to which it helps to lift millions out of poverty into wealth. For three decades that’s been my passion. Development must be done with dignity”, he said.

In pursuit of this mission, he has built strategic alliances and partnerships across the world, cutting across governments, private sector and civil society.

His mission is to change the status of Africa from ‘a museum for poverty’ to a ‘place of wealth’. His strategy is mobilizing billions of dollars of development capital, making investment to take the place of aids in the development functions of Africa’s economies.

He is pursuing the development targets with a deep sense of urgency in view of the rapidly growing population of young people in Africa. For him, it is quite imperative to accelerate economic growth in order to match the growing population with new job opportunities. His goal is to create 25 million jobs in ten years mostly in the agricultural sector.

Adesina’s drive for agricultural innovation in Africa is to achieve food security for millions of people throughout the African continent. He is doing everything possible to help African countries transform their agricultural sectors with a view to diversifying their economies, creating jobs and eradicating food insecurity across he continent.

His emphasis on agriculture has a deep root from his background. He was born into a family of smallholder farmers, where the reality of rural poverty pushed him towards a vision of unlocking the potential of Africa’s agriculture to feed its people and the world.

He worked in three of the global agricultural research centres – the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-arid Tropics, the West Africa Rice Development Association and the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture. He was in charge of programmes for getting agricultural technologies down to farmers.

Adesina later joined the Rockefeller Foundation Agricultural Sciences where he was in charge of developing innovative approaches for reaching poor farmers in the remotest areas of Africa with improved agricultural technologies. He was part of the development of a model called “The Agro-Dealers Network”, which consists of a massive rural network of small village shops that taught modern agricultural techniques and sold seed varieties and fertilizers to farmers. 

The initiative paid off. Modern farm inputs became readily available to farmers, millions of farmers were supported and the result was significant increases in food production. At Rockefeller Foundation, he led Africa to agree on the agenda to eradicate hunger in Africa by 2030.   

This is in his conviction that Africa desperately needed to spark a revolution in agricultural techniques to increase food production of smallholder farmers. The summit is one of the high-level meetings in Africa’s history to focus on tackling Africa’s food challenges.

In 2015, he proceeded on the mission of building what he termed the greatest infrastructure – grey matter infrastructure through his African Leaders for Nutrition initiative. With the initiative, Adesina has been at the forefront of eradicating malnutrition and poverty in Africa through agriculture.

He has been behind a number of programmes and initiatives designed to build a bright future for Africa. He pioneered major transformations in agriculture, such as expansion of food production using high yielding technologies, introduction of policies to support farmers’ access to technologies at scale and increased availability of credit facilities to millions of smallholder farmers.

Other initiatives include attracting private investments to the agricultural sector, rooting out corrupt elements in fertilizer distribution and assisting in the establishment of major agricultural policies for Africa’s green revolution. 

Adesina also developed an innovative financing system, which enhanced bank lending to smallholder farmers. This is to empower them to break free from the cycle of poverty through enhanced operating capacity. The scheme leveraged $100 million funding that has contributed in bringing agricultural innovation to smallholder farmers across African countries.

For instance, in Uganda, the country’s central bank provided loans to farmers growing bananas, using $500,000 from Rockefeller Foundation’s Program-Related Investment portfolio. In Kenya, Equity Bank, which is the country’s largest bank, launched a risk sharing facility that leveraged $50 million in financing for tens of thousands of smallholder farmers.

In Nigeria, Adesina worked with the Central Bank of Nigeria to establish a $300 million risk sharing facility to de-risk lending by commercial banks to agriculture. He successfully leveraged $3 billion in lending commitments under the scheme.

Based on his achievements, he was appointed minister of agriculture and rural development in in Nigeria in 2011. During his term, he boosted food production by an additional 21 million metric tons over four years and attracted $5.6 billion in private-sector investments. He geared up agricultural production in the country with his introduction of the E-Wallet System.

Under the arrangement, agricultural inputs and subsidized electronic vouchers were provided to farmers for purchases of fertilizer and seed varieties directly from agro-dealers in lieu of cash. This is Adesina’s innovative approach that ended 40 years of corruption in the government-controlled fertilizer distribution system in Nigeria.

The use of improved seed varieties in rice, maize and wheat production multiplied crop yields per hectare. The number of seed companies soared with the increased demand within just four years and the ultimate purpose was realized, which is the transformation of the lives of 14.5 million farmers and their families.

The success purred global financial institutions such as the World Bank and other multilateral and bilateral development finance institutions to apply the model to support the scaling up of the programmes in other African countries and beyond.

Bernadette O. Oramah

Bernadette O. Oramah President, African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank)

Prof. Bernadette O. Oramah is president, African Export-Import Bank [Afreximbank], which boasts a balance sheet size in the region of $20 billion in 2020 and shareholders’ funds in excess of $3 billion. Oramah is reputed for demonstrating unique and very impressive leadership style toward the development of the African continent. This earned him a second term appointment in office last year.

An agricultural economist, Oramah governs the foremost pan-African multilateral financial institution devoted to financing and promoting intra- and extra-African trade. It was established in 1993 by African governments, African private and institutional investors and non-African investors with headquarters in Cairo.

Oramah assumed the headship of Afreximbank in September 2015 from his previous position in the bank as executive vice president in charge of business development and corporate banking. He was re-appointed in 2020 for the second five-year term as the chief executive officer of Afreximbank.

He has served in various capacities in the bank for 27 years since he joined the institution in 1994. Over the period, he said, the bank has contributed in lifting intra-African trade five-fold from $28 billion in 1994 to some $130 billion in 2017.

He is versatile in various aspects of the bank’s operations, covering business development functions of trade finance, project and export development finance, syndications and specialized and corporate finance and advisory services. He has handled research and knowledge management functions of the bank as well as strategic planning and international cooperation functions.

Oramah is a strong advocate of intra- African trade, which he carries out through regular speaking as well as many published works on a wide range of African economic, trade and trade finance issues. In 2016, he launched an intra-African Trade Strategy, as a guided effort to address the challenge of how to get African countries trade among themselves.

A key component of that strategy is the broadening of intra-African trade by incorporating the 30 million Africans in Diaspora, which he has enthroned as the 56th nation in Africa. He has positioned Afreximbankto support the growth of businesses operated by the African Diaspora by providing working capital finance for importing and exporting of ethnic foods and other tradable goods within the African market.

Oramah has assured that his second term in office will drive the bank’s ultimate goal of realising Africa’s strategic ambition of creating an integrated market.“We want an Africa where the foundations of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) are laid expeditiously so that the 84,000 kilometres of borders that have divided us for ages can begin to come down,” he said.

He is on a mission to use AfCFTA to bring to reality long, elusive developmental goals of the African continent. These include a new drive in industrialization, the emergence of regional value chains and activating Africa’s creative and cultural assets as engines of growth.

The new agenda also includes growing jobs for the youth in the continent, raising the quality of an African to convey respect wherever he may be and preparing the continent for competitiveness in the global markets. The programmes are progressively steering the continent away from traditional economic structures where growth is primarily driven by export of primary commodities and natural resources.

The bank provided revolving loans to African countries in order to assist them cope with the commodity price shocks. It disbursed more than $9 billion for that purpose between 2015 and 2016.

The bank’s industrialization pursuit involves the support of the creation of large light manufacturing capacities across the continent with about 3,000 hectares of industrial parks and export processing zones under development.

The bank is promoting African countries’ competitiveness through the financing of logistics infrastructure development and testing and the development of inspection and certification centres across Africa. This is aimed at increasing the export quality of African industrial products.

In his first five years in office, Afreximbank disbursed more than $30 billion in support of African trade with over $15 billion channeled towards the financing and promotion of intra-African trade. Oramah is making even greater promises for his second term in Afreximbank.

“We will aim to double intra-African trade financing so that by the end of my term, it will constitute no less than 40 percent of the bank’s total assets, with aggregate disbursements, on a revolving basis, over the 5 years exceeding $30 billion,” he told the bank’s shareholders last year.

His current strategic plan at Afreximbank is dubbed IMPACT 2021-Africa transformed. A new equity injection of $500 million has provided the financing capacity for the plan.

The reinforcement of equity cushion gives Oramah the fuel for an extra millage in driving the bank’s shared purpose of stimulating the expansion and diversifying African trade to rapidly increase Africa’s share of global trade. He takes on with greater vigour the task of consolidating the bank’s position as the trade finance bank for Africa.

His primary commitment is the satisfaction of stakeholders through the execution of the bank’s four strategic pillars of promoting intra-African trade, facilitating industrialization and export development, strengthening trade finance leadership and improving financial performance and soundness. To accomplish these, Oramah is taking steps to improve internal capacities for increased efficiency of processes with a strong emphasis on high quality governance structures in the commitment to Africa’s economic emancipation and empowerment.

Amina Mohammed

Amina Mohammed Deputy secretary-general of the United Nations and chair, United Nations Sustainable Development Group

Ms. Amina Mohammed is the deputy secretary-general of the United Nations and chair of the United Nations Sustainable Development Group. Right at the top ranking level of the global body, she is part of the effort to deal head on with the world’s most intractable crises and developmental challenges.

She joined the United Nations in 2012 as special adviser to former secretary-general Ban Ki-moon. She held the responsibility for post-2015 development planning. Mohammed led the process that resulted in global agreement around the 2030 agenda for sustainable development and the creation of the sustainable development goals.  

Her role in the world body is highly enriched by over 30 years of experience as a development practitioner in the public and private sectors as well as civil society. Prior to her appointment, she served as minister of environment of the Federal Republic of Nigeria where she steered the country’s effort on climate action, protecting the natural environment and conserving resources for sustainable development.

She was former chief executive officer/founder, Center for Development Policy Solutions. The centre is a think tank body established to address the policy and knowledge gaps within the government, parliament and private sector in development and civil society for robust advocacy materials.

Mohammed is also adjunct professor of the Master’s Programme for Development Practice at Columbia University, New York. Prior to that, she played top level roles in government in Nigeria, having served three successive presidents as adviser on poverty, public sector reform and sustainable development over a period of six years.

She served as senior special assistant to the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on the millennium development goals. In 2005, she was assigned the role of coordinating the debt relief funds to the tune of $1 billion per annum designated towards the achievement of millennium development goals in Nigeria.

Her role covered designing a virtual poverty fund with innovative approaches to poverty reduction, budget coordination and monitoring. It included providing advice on pertinent issues regarding poverty, public sector reform and sustainable development.

Between 2002 and 2005, Mohammed served as coordinator of the task force on gender and education for the United Nations millennium project. Prior to this, she served as founder and executive director of Afri-Projects Consortium, a multi-disciplinary firm of engineers and quantity surveyors (1991-2001) and worked with the architectural engineering firm of Archcon Nigeria in association with Norman and Dawbarn UK (1981-1991). 

The projects centred on health management, education and public sector buildings in Nigeria. She began early as an advocate of increased access to education and other social services.

Mohammed currently serves on numerous international advisory panels and boards, including the Global Development Programme of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Secretary General’s Global Sustainability Panel and the Hewlett Foundation on Education.

She is also on the boards of African Women’s Millennium Initiative, the Action Aid International, Right to Education Project, the Millennium Promise Initiative and the Institute of Scientific & Technical Information of China.

She serves as governor of the International Development Research Centre in Canada and currently chairs the advisory board of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO) Global Monitoring Report on Education.  

Her role is to get the world at large to embrace education as a human right and a central vehicle for building sustainable and resilient societies as well as for achieving personal aspirations and all the sustainable development goals. She is frantically driving home the message to the whole world that equipping children and youth with relevant knowledge and skills has a catalytic impact on eradicating poverty, reducing inequalities, improving health, driving economic growth and achieving gender equality.

Mohammed acknowledges that the effort is yielding great results globally in terms of great progress the world has made in advancing gender equality. She is impressed with a large increase in the number of girls now going to school and staying in school and a drop in the number of out-of-school girls over the last two decades. She is poised to do more, as the number of girls out of school remained large at about 132 million globally.

“Without investing in the youth to create an enabling environment for them to learn and acquire skills for decent work, sustainability, climate change awareness and global citizenship, we will not deliver on our promise for the future we want.

“Without ensuring quality and inclusive education for all, we will not be able to advance our efforts for more peaceful and inclusive societies and for promoting respect for human rights. Yet, we have seen warning signs that on current trends, the world is not on track to achieve the SDG4 goal and targets”, she told The Guardian.

She presses as strongly as she can for the world to hear and to put it into practice – that quality education and lifelong learning are foundational to all other aspects of human and sustainable development. “Without access to quality and relevant education, young people cannot build the skills needed to succeed in life and work, and consequently, they and their communities suffer”, she said.

Hers is a voice sounding to the whole world in a long raging battle against the odds. “We need to make sure that all children and youth have an equal chance — girls and boys, children and youth with disabilities, children and youth from marginalized communities. In order to achieve real progress on any of the SDGs, our approaches need to put education at the center”, she said.

Mohammed Barkindo

Mohammed Barkindo Secretary General, OPEC

Mohammed Barkindo is secretary general, OPEC, the chief executive of the organization’s Secretariat and it’s legally authorized representative. In this capacity, he administers the affairs of the organization in accordance with the directions of the board of governors.

Barkindo was re-elected for the second three-year term in office at the sixth OPEC and non-OPEC ministerial meeting last year. He was appointed the first time in August 2016, and has since then been instrumental to achieving the cooperation the oil producing countries needed critically to achieve stable markets amidst global turbulence.

Barkindo represented Nigeria on OPEC’s Economic Commission Board from 1993 to 2008 and was acting secretary general of the organization in 2006.His leadership is credited for maintaining faith in the future of the oil and gas industry and for building the essential bridges the industry needs to advance in prosperity.

He heads the organization at a time of a major change in market structure, posing greater challenges in cooperation among oil producing countries. He responded in rallying OPEC members and non-OPEC partners in the historic Declaration of Cooperation [DoC] in December 2016. The DoC is a response to the severe oil market downturn of 2014 to 2016.

Utmost commitment to do whatever it takes to balance and stabilize the oil market in the interest of both producers and consumers has been Barkindo’s promise at OPEC. “We have delivered on this promise, with the effectiveness of our joint efforts well-proven since the ‘Declaration of Cooperation’ began in January 2017”, he said. It is to him, an unprecedented response to an unparalleled market shock.

He ensures that members and partners adapt courses accordingly depending on market conditions.  Voluntary production adjustments are called into play when the market gets skewed to oversupply. This was the engagement tool applied to stabilise oil prices in the market slump of late2016 to 2018.

On the other hand, when concerns of rising demand outpacing supply surface, partners in the Declaration of Cooperation step up supply to ease market tightening. Barkindo explains that “the Declaration has had a transformational impact on the global oil industry and has received the backing of other producers, as well as consumers”.

The stabilising role has elevated the office of the secretary general as a dependable source of guidance to global energy stakeholders. “We are most fortunate that the architects of the DoC constructed a framework so solid that it allows us to be agile and flexible, to act in a timely way to support market stability as different conditions arise. 

“We are now into the fifth year of the Declaration of Cooperatio nand better equipped than ever as we shift from managing a crisis to supporting the recovery”, he said at the 47th meeting of the Joint Technical Committee last January.

His mandate is to deliver OPEC’s key objective of a balanced market and a sustainable stability.  He has his eyes fixed firmly on the objectives and takes on an agile and flexible approach to accomplish the daunting task.

He assures stakeholders that his administration will  remain unyielding in working to further bring down inventory levels, help to return investment to the industry and maintain a healthy supply and demand balance, without under or over-shooting.

The role of oil in the global economic growth and stability remains crucial. With a number of underlying risks and uncertainties that affect market developments, a stabilizing mechanism has become a key element of extracting stability for the global economy out of  an inherently volatile oil industry. This is essentially the job that Barkindo does not just for OPEC but for the whole world’s economy.

“We always take a very measured approach through the ‘Declaration of Cooperation’ – we look at the market outlook, we listen to consumers and other stakeholders, and I assure you that we are focused on the interests of the global economy. OPEC has a vested interest in the continued growth and stability of the US and by extension the global economy” he said.

Barkindo’s leadership of OPEC recognizes that the challenge of balancing the oil market and maintaining stability is a continuous process and a shared responsibility. The Declaration, he said, is not about short-termism but focuses on continuity through short-term objectives to long-term goals.

He is therefore set on a noble mission of continually breaking down barriers to economic growth and stability to oil producers and consumers alike all over the world. He is resolute about the core objective of his organization: the determination and resolve to maintain a balanced oil market and achieve a sustainable stability in the interests of both producers and consumers.

The Declaration of Cooperation has therefore gone a long way to achieve these balanced interests by helping to return balance and stability to the market, according to Barkindo. He assures that his leadership will continue to be unbending in this objective going forward.

For him, it is in everyone’s interest to keep the markets stable and to maintain oil prices at levels that enable producers to earn a reasonable income and to invest in the necessary production capacity to ensure continuing supplies to the market. However he expects high energy-dependent economies to cease the opportunity of reasonable stability attained through the Declaration to diversify earnings. “I believe it is becoming increasingly crucial for oil producers that still depend heavily on oil revenues to look to other sources of income”, he counseled.

Chile Ebeo-Osuji

Chile Ebeo-Osuji President, International Criminal Court (ICC)

Chief Chile Ebeo-Osuji has just ended his term [10th March 2021] as president of the International Criminal Court [ICC], Hague since 2018 and a judge at the court since 2012.For so long he has held forth at the international institution whose mandate is to hold accountable those who commit crimes against humanity and yet may find escape routes from justice at home. ICC holds the mandate of humanity to provide an international place for justice so that victims may have the hope that is not readily available at home.

It handles cases where the channels of justice are shut to victims at national jurisdictions. The ICC therefore entertains and treats petitions of victims with the mandate of humanity as a court of last resort.

Ebeo-Osuji has presided over this global mandate over the past three years.Despite challenges faced; he presided over the 18-judge court undeterred in his determination to discharge the humanity mandate. It is a determination that is given a workable process to be carried through to the point of its practical expression.

This is the joy and satisfaction of Ebeo-Osuji for a great mission accomplished at The Hague. He has been part of the great machinery of service to humanity, the unyielding resolve of judges – who live up to their name in holding people accountable for their actions. “I have witnessed them perform it during my tenure as President,” he said while sharing his thoughts on the job as his tenure drew to its end.

He recalls that it isn’t a determination of the court alone that makes justice happen at ICC but also the robust moral support it has received from many countries and their representatives as well as from civil society and the academia. The court enjoys the support of even those who come from countries that are not yet parties to its treaty, he said.

The lesson that Ebeo-Osuji brings from the centre of judicial excellence is that justice delivery cannot happen without a joint effort. “This joint effort has served to ensure that the ICC is a principal pillar of the international rule of law – a key tool in the pursuit of international peace and the protection of humankind from unspeakable acts of inhumanity”, he said.

He recognizes that the capacity of the court to serve its purpose needs a continuous investment of efforts to enhance it from the inside. In pursuit of this improvement, Ebeo-Osuji’s leadership of the court initiated a comprehensive systems review – the first of such an exercise in the court’s history.

“Our very aim in inviting the exercise was to strengthen the ICC as an institution, by identifying, in a comprehensive way, areas in need of improvement – in the short term, in the medium term and in the long term”, he said.

He raises a word of caution however in that the review he ordered had ‘a no go area’. That area is the court’s independence – which, he said, must not be compromised in the course of implementing any reviews and recommendations of the consultants. “Independence is the cornerstone of every judicial institution’s legitimacy. Nothing that risks its compromise could ever be good enough for this international court of law”, he insists.

Ebeo-Osuji places side by side the court’s mandate of humanity he has spearheaded and the cry for justice by victims of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and the crime of aggression and asks a self-probing question.“Have I done the very best that is possible within me to do, in service of the court’s mandate—and not merely what I consider to be good enough or even more than good enough?”

His answer to that question is unequivocally, ’yes’ in conviction of someone who has accomplished a great mission for his nation and for the world with a conscience unspotted.

Prior to joining the ICC, Eboe-Osuji served as legal advisor to the UN high commissioner for human rights. He anchored the high commissioner’s interventions in cases involving human rights issues. In that capacity, he led the writing of amicus curiae submissions to the European Court of Human Rights and the United States Supreme Court.

He served as principal appeals counsel for the prosecution in the Charles Taylor Case at the Special Court for Sierra Leone. He held several posts at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, including head of chambers and lead prosecution trial counsel.

He practiced law as a barrister before trial courts in Nigeria and Canada and conducted appeals before the Court of Appeal for Ontario (Canada) and the Supreme Court of Canada.

Eboe-Osuji taught international criminal law as adjunct professor at the Faculty of Law of the University of Ottawa, Canada. He has an extensive record of legal scholarship and publications, including the books titled International Law and Sexual Violence in Armed Conflicts and Protecting Humanity (ed). He served as legal expert to Nigeria’s delegation to the ICC-ASP Special Working Group on the Definition of the Crime of Aggression.

Judge Eboe-Osuji received his Ph.D. from the University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands and obtained his LLM degree from McGill University, Canada and also did his Canadian law accreditation studies at McGill. He also holds an LLB degree from the University of Calabar, Nigeria.

Olorutimi Badero

Olorutimi Badero World’s first fully trained and certified Interventional Cardio-nephrologist

Dr. Olorutimi Badero is world’s first fully trained and certified interventional cardio-nephrologist –a  combined heart & kidney specialist physician. The Nigerian born, US-based medical specialist has been recognized for his accomplishments in this emerging field of medicine. He is a board-certified cardiologist, nephrologist, interventional nephrologist, internist and nuclear cardiologist.

At Central Mississippi Medical Centre, he performed the first radial coronary angioplasty in CMMC history in 2011 and treated nephrology patients for two years without additional pay.

Badero has been recognized as the only combined cardiologist and nephrologist in the United States, a rarefied specialty in medical science, a coveted commodity in the field and one of the most knowledgeable medical minds in Mississippi. His global recognition include a US Congressional award for outstanding medical career and service to humanity.

He is a specialist in each of seven different areas of medicine – a rare feat in the field of medical science. Badero is a global record –the one fully trained heart and kidney specialist in the world is a Nigerian.

“By training, I specialized in internal medicine, cardiovascular medicine, invasive & interventional cardiology, nephrology and hypertension, interventional nephrology & endovascular medicine, nuclear cardiology as well as peripheral vascular interventions.

“Putting all that together, I would like to think of myself as an interventional cardio nephrologist as well as a peripheral vascular interventionist. Altogether, I spent ten years of continuous post-graduate medical training, which I later found out was unprecedented”, he told Financial Nigeria.

He began his medical education at Obafemi Awolowo University and graduated from the school’s medical programme in 1997. He later relocated to the United States for a series of specialist medical trainings.

After passing the U.S national medical exam for foreign-trained doctors, he was admitted at State University of New York, Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn NY where he completed three years of Internal Medicine residency. He proceeded to Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, Georgia where he completed a two-year fellowship in Nephrology & Hypertension.

While he was in training at Emory University School of Medicine as a kidney specialist, he was challenged to discover that the commonest cause of death for the patients that died was heart disease and not kidney infection. “And we were doing a great job taking care of these patients but ultimately they died from a disease I didn’t have much control of as I would have loved to”, he recalled.

It was for him a challenge he didn’t have a choice but to embrace in the light of his decision to be a physician that will make a difference in the profession. The new challenge set the stage for Badero to explore additional ways of becoming effective on the job.

He decided to go back to specialize in cardiology, which would enable him get to the bottom of the common health complications that claim lives. The decision took him back to State University of New York, Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn where he completed a three-year fellowship training in cardiovascular medicine in 2009.

Following a distinguished Cardiology fellowship, he was admitted into the prestigious Yale University School of Medicine, Bridgeport Program where he completed fellowships in invasive &interventional cardiology as well as peripheral vascular intervention. He completed these fellowships with distinction and was awarded a certificate of achievement for outstanding performance.

Badero later returned to SUNY-Downstate Medical Center for yet another year long fellowship in Interventional Nephrology, Endovascular Medicine & Dialysis Access Intervention. In all, he completed an unprecedented 10 years of continuous postgraduate medical training in the United States, specializing in seven different areas of medicine. He holds many specialty board certifications in the field of medicine.

He has been recognized around the world for his many contributions to the medical field as well as being one of the pioneers in his field. He is involved in medical mission work as well as non-profit organizations that help alleviate the disparity in healthcare delivery, especially in Africa and other medically underserved areas across the globe.

He is also involved in mentorship programmes for young physicians and scientists alike and teaches resident physicians and medical students periodically in a number of academic institutions. He has been involved in raising awareness of the interrelationship between the heart and kidney through various continuing medical education and speaking engagements. He has served as a consultant to some African countries in establishing cardio-renal programmes, cardiac centres of excellence as well as training and skills transfer. 

Badero serves as an international speaker for several empowerment and motivational platforms across the globe of which Nigeria is a beneficiary. He was a speaker at the 2016 Impact Houston Youth Empowerment Conference for Nigerian youth. He was a speaker at the 2019 ‘Why I am Alive Campaign’ alongside former president Olusegun Obasanjo where he received the most purposeful Nigerian Award.

​Badero has been inducted into the fellowship of several academic and national societies in the United States. These include the American College of Physicians (FACP), American Society of Nephrology (FASN), National Kidney Foundation (FNKF), American Society of Diagnostic & Interventional Nephrology (FASDIN), American Society of Nuclear Cardiology (FASNC), International College of Angiology (FICA), American Society of Angiology (FASA), American College of Cardiology (FACC) and the Society for Cardiovascular Angiography & Interventions (FSCAI).

Onyema Ogbuagu

Onyema Ogbuagu Nigerian-born medical doctor, who led the Pfizer trial for the coronavirus vaccine in the United States

Dr. Onyema Ogbuagu is a Nigerian-born medical doctor, who led the Pfizer trial for the coronavirus vaccine in the United States. His ground-breaking research in the field of modified genetic code has given him a place of recognition in finding an acceptable solution to a global pandemic.

Ogbuagu is associate professor of medicine and infectious disease specialist and director of the HIV Clinical Trials programme of the Yale AIDS Programme, Section of Infectious Diseases of the Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, New York City. He has spent his years investigating some of the world’s most pervasive infectious diseases, including HIV/AIDS and Ebola.

The knowledge and experience apparently positioned him to top the race of scientists to develop the potential world’s first effective coronavirus vaccine in a record time of under one year.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, he is the Yale principal investigator on multiple investigational therapeutic and preventative clinical trials for COVID-19.Among the approvals by the United States Food and Drug Administration is the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine trial.

Dozens of research teams around the world went afield in search of a vaccine for coronavirus using a mix of established techniques and new technologies. Money wasn’t a problem this time, as billions of dollars poured in from many quarters around the world to find the life-saving vaccine for a world under an unprecedented health crisis.

Amidst flickers of hope here and there, sustained optimism has come from the leading drug giants Pfizer and Modern a whose trial data showed their vaccines were more than 90 per cent effective in preventing COVID-19 infection.

Pfizer jointly announced with BioNTech that a vaccine against COVID-19 had been developed with 95 per cent efficacy. This beats by far the initial expectation of a 50 per cent effectiveness of a potential vaccine for coronavirus. How such a high level of efficacy has been achieved by the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine remains a wonder in the field of vaccine technology.

Ogbuagu comes with a reassuring explanation. “So we are telling the public that even though the vaccines have proceeded at an unprecedented phase, it is being done carefully, thoughtfully and with the right amount of oversight so that vaccines receive emergency use authorisation by the FDA and it passes through all the safety checks to show that the efficacy numbers are real and that should really assure the public,” he said.

Reports affirm that the vaccine has been tested on 43,500 people in six countries and no serious safety concerns have arisen. Pfizer has since begun product roll-out that targeted supplies of 50 million doses by the end of 2020 and around 1.3 billion by the end of 2021.

The development of the vaccine is considered to be one big step of moving forward for the world. To Ogbuagu, the leading developer, it is a feat that signals the beginning of the end for COVID-19 pandemic. It will help people attain immunity, he assured.

Speaking to ABC news channel, he said “I think you know those of us involved in the trials are really super excited by the results that were really quite unexpected. You know we’ve quite expected that the vaccines should at least have more than 50 per cent efficacy… but it’s just so heartwarming that the vaccines have been so effective,” he said.

He also told BBC that the efficacy of the drug is as real as it was announced. He said when administered, the result is 94 percent effective among adults that are 65 years of age.

Born in the US, Ogbuagu returned to Nigeria for his university education. He graduated in medicine from the University of Calabar in Cross River State in 2003 and interned at the Ebonyi State University Teaching Hospital, Abakaliki. He returned to the US and also interned at Mount Sinai School of Medicine (Elmhurst). He then went to Yale School of Medicine to work as director of the institution’s HIV clinical trials programme.

He became a fellow of infectious diseases and rose to the height of an associate professor of medicine at the school, focusing on finding a cure for HIV/AIDS.

As associate professor, Ogbuagu has led several medical research programmes in the United States and Africa. He worked in the faculty of human resources for health programme in Rwanda where he mentored medical residents and junior faculty in clinical research projects locally relevant in addressing important infectious diseases-related problems (particularly HIV/AIDS and antimicrobial resistance).He has also worked at the Liberia College of Physicians and Surgeons (LCPS).

Ogbuagu is going the extra mile to reassure the global community that everything is back under control. He said preparations have been made at both the government end and the distribution network while Pfizer perfects the arrangement for storage of the vaccine at low temperature.

From many quarters, it is thumbs up for the Nigerian medical specialist, who has given the world the life-saving vaccine. The United States embassy in Nigeria has recognised Ogbuagu’s lead in developing the first effective COVID-19 vaccine in the United States.

“Nigerians contribute to the world in so many ways. Our hats off to Dr. Onyema Ogbuagbu at Yale who helped develop a COVID-19 vaccine,” the embassy said.

Pfizer has begun a pilot delivery programme in four states of the United States and is working to find solution to the major challenge of how to store the vaccine at the required negative 94 degrees while shipping.

Ogbuagu admits that the cold chain is an issue but assures that preparations are being made both under government and appropriate networks as well as at Pfizer, which is working out its own independent distribution plan.

He is part of a community of ambassadors working to assure Americans that the vaccine research was done safely. He said all the safety checks and “the efficacy numbers are real and that should really reassure the public.”

Bola Adesola

Bola Adesola Senior. Vice Chairman Africa, Standard Chartered Bank and UN Global Impact Board

Ms. Bola Adesola is Senior. Vice Chairman Africa, Standard Chartered Bank and UN Global Impact Board – the world’s largest corporate sustainability initiative. The Global Compact was proposed in the late 1990s by then UN secretary-general Kofi Annan in response to widespread concerns about the negative impact of corporate business practices on human rights, workers’ rights and the environment.

She was appointed to the United Nations Global Compact Board (UNGC) by the UN Secretary General in 2015 and has been Co Vice-Chair of the Board since 2018.

It is a voluntary initiative based on CEO commitments to implement universal sustainability principles and to take steps to support UN goals. The initiative is a call to companies to align strategies and operations with universal principles on human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption and take actions that advance social goals.

It has under its umbrella more than 12,000 signatories of participating companies based in over 160 countries representing every sector and size of business activities. Mobilising global movement of sustainable companies and stakeholders to create a desirable world is the mission of the UN Global Compact.

Driving change across all corporate sustainability, inspiring, guiding and supporting companies to do business responsibly and take action for a more sustainable future are its central objectives. Adesola holds a critical position in the global initiative that is making the mission and the objectives of the body to come to fruition.

As co-vice chairman, she is in the forefront of driving the culture of corporate sustainability across the corporate world. It is an initiative that takes companies all the way back to their value systems and help them adopt a principles-based approach to doing business.

This involves a system of company operations that meet fundamental responsibilities in the areas of human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption. Adesola’s role is to have companies around the world incorporate the principles of the UN Global Compact into strategies, policies and procedures and thereby establish a culture of integrity.

She is keen to see that companies are not only upholding their basic responsibilities to people and the planet but eagerly setting the stage for long-term success. The point is for companies to appreciate that long-term success is equally desired by their workers, their communities as well as the planet and to take action to do business right for all.

The principles of the United Nations Global Compact are derived from: the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Labour Organisation’s Declaration of Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development and the United Nations Convention Against Corruption.

At Standard Chartered Bank, Adesola is responsible for supporting the execution of the bank’s strategic intent within the Africa region. Her role also includes representing Standard Chartered Bank on various boards in Africa and leading as a senior banker on key relationships and transactions.

She joined the bank in March 2011 as chief executive officer for Nigeria and became CEO for Nigeria and West Africa in 2015.She was previously on the board of First Bank of Nigeria Plc as executive director, corporate banking with oversight of retail and commercial banking businesses.

She also served as managing director/CEO of Kakawa Discount House and also worked at Citibank in senior leadership roles in Nigeria and Tanzania.

Standard Chartered PLC is a leading international banking group, with presence in 59 of the world’s most dynamic markets and serves clients across another 85 financial centres in the world.

Adesola takes with her diverse experience in the private sector and in the corporate sustainability space to the United Nations Global Compact that is the entry point for business within the broader United Nations system.

She holds degrees from Harvard Business School and Lagos Business School as well as a law degree from the University of Buckingham, UK and is an Associate of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, U.K. and Nigeria.

She was called to the Nigerian Bar in 1985 and has built over 31 years of banking experience and expertise. She has served on the boards of Nigeria Interbank Settlement Systems Plc and the Financial Institutions Training Centre. She chairs the Central Bank of Nigeria Bankers’ sub-Committee on Economic Development, Sustainability and Gender. In Standard Chartered, Bola is a member of the Global Diversity and Inclusion Council, and is actively involved with women’s networks across the bank. She also sits on the boards of Standard Chartered in Ghana and Cote D’Ivoire.

Kevin Ibeh

Kevin Ibeh Commissioner, Commonwealth Scholarship Commission [CSC], UK

Prof. Kevin Ibeh is newly appointed Commissioner, Commonwealth Scholarship Commission [CSC] in the UK, which provides the main UK government scholarship scheme led by international development objectives. The CSC is an executive non-departmental public body, which is sponsored mainly by the Foreign Commonwealth & Development Office [FCDO]. 

It manages the UK’s contribution to the Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan (CSFP), an international programme under which member governments offer scholarships and fellowships to citizens of other Commonwealth countries.

Ibeh is one of 14 Commissioners and a chair, who are appointed by the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs in line with the Public Appointments Commissioner’s code of practice.

He will be relied upon in meeting the CSC’s responsibilities in providing academic and professional scholarships and fellowships to Commonwealth citizens; in selecting candidates to receive Commonwealth scholarships and fellowships in the UK on the basis of merit as well as their potential to contribute to the needs of their home countries.

Other responsibilities he will be anchoring are placing Commonwealth scholars and fellows in universities or other host organisations in the UK and evaluating effectively the impact of Commonwealth scholarships and fellowships and maintaining contact with alumni to help make sure that this evaluation can take place.

His duties as Commissioner is to ensure that individuals are selected for Commonwealth Scholarships and Fellowships on merit and on the basis of clear criteria which fulfill the aims and objectives set by FCDO and, where appropriate, other sponsoring departments.

He is expected to contribute to a range of functions, which help to ensure that the CSC makes a relevant, high quality and efficient contribution. These include ensuring that all Commonwealth scholarships and fellowships are awarded under six development-related themes that advance global well being.

They are science and technology for development, strengthening health systems and capacity and promoting global prosperity. Others are strengthening global peace, security and governance, strengthening resilience and response to crises and access, inclusion and opportunity.

Ibeh will be involved in establishing the overall strategic direction for the CSC within the policy and resources framework determined by FCDO. He will also play a top level role in ensuring that statutory or administrative requirements for the use of public funds are complied with and keep the CSC operations within the limits of its statutory and any delegated authority. He will be part of CSC policy making and strategy development functions.

He is a respected international scholar with over one hundred papers in peer reviewed journals and edited volumes. Prior to the new appointment, he has been a Professor of Marketing and International Business and Pro Vice Chancellor (International) at Birkbeck, University of London. His research has mainly focused on advancing knowledge of how non-dominant firms, including SMEs, leverage growth opportunities in international markets.

He is considered a leading authority on African Transnational Corporations based on his pioneering research on this little known sub-group of emerging market multinationals. He has undertaken consulting/advisory roles for a range of international organisations, including the OECD, World Bank Group, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, Scottish Enterprise, Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Royal Society of Edinburgh.

He currently holds Visiting Professorship or external examiner appointments in Australia, Malaysia, Ghana and the UK and has had additional professional stints in countries, notably the USA, Canada, China, Germany, Finland, UAE, Singapore, Spain, and Nigeria.

Ibeh is Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Marketing and member of the Academy of International Business, among others. He sits on the editorial advisory board of several international journals and has been a speaker at major international meetings. A former Commonwealth Scholar, Ibeh is rightly positioned to bring his in-depth knowledge and track record in international development and higher education to bear in directing the affairs at CSC. His new role is expected to support the emergence of future leaders across the Commonwealth and attract outstanding talent to UK universities!