Former Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala was a guest in an episode of Al Jazeera‘s The Stream on Monday.
She spoke about her childhood and how she never planned to be an economist, because her father is a Mathematical Economist, and she thought the subject was very hard.
On her role as Finance Minister, she said:
The average life span of a Finance Minister is two years in a country. No one likes a Finance Minister because it is the business of saying no. It is very difficult and challenging. It was interesting for me. I wish I had seen myself as wielding power. All I saw was the job because I was seeing myself working for the country.
On how African economies can get back on track she said:
I am not a typical politician. I went in as a technocrat. I think on the continent we have seen a period when the economy was doing well, in the last two years we have been experiencing challenges. We need to focus on the basics which are macro-economics. You must get the fundamentals like having a stable exchange rate and having inflation under control.
She also said that she would not be available to serve if called upon by the present administration because she is “not the only person who is a repository of knowledge”. “There are other people who can equally try their hands in running the economy,” she added.
“One of the things you learn as you get wiser is to talk less as you grow older. I have spent my time contributing to the country. It will be better to live those managing the economy to do what they know how to do. There can be solutions.
I served my country for seven years and it was a great honour. The second time was very tough but it is still an honour,” she said.
Other guests in the episode were Nurul Izzah Anwar (@n_izzah), a Member of Parliament in Malaysia, Ola Orekunrin (@NaijaFlyingDr), a Medical doctor & founder, The Flying Doctors, and Busisiwe Mkhumbuzi (@BusiMkhumbuzi)
Okonjo-Iweala also answered questions from viewers.