“Privatisation does not always work in Nigeria. However, our government is not competent to run the energy sector. We tried it for 40 years!” With statements such as these, Nigeria’s coordinating minister for the economy and minister of finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, had a packed audience hanging onto her every word at the launch of her book, “Reforming The Unreformable”, in Cape Town in May 2013.
She was also accompanying the Nigerian president, Goodluck Jonathan, on a state visit to South Africa and to the World Economic Forum (WEC), also taking place in the South African mother city. Nigeria is the next WEF host country.
A former managing director of the World Bank, Okonjo-Iweala was invited back to her home country in 2003 by then president Olusegun Obasanjo to set in motion sweeping economic reforms in Nigeria. The book tells the story of how a dedicated team of reformers set out to fix a series of broken institutions and in the process repositioned Nigeria’s economy for long-term growth.
“There seemed to be pessimism in the air. I wrote this book to show the often very pessimistic, cynical Nigerians that it can be done. What Nigeria does matters.” She put together a team for the task. “You cannot do it alone. This is a story about a team that delivered and was led by a president who had a mission.” She says it also accepted advice from Brazil because that country had gone through its own economic reforms.
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