Dr. Obiageli ‘Oby’ Ezekwesili is a Senior Economic Advisor at Open Society Foundations (OSF), a group founded by investor and philanthropist, George Soros. She also jointly serves as Senior Economic Advisor for Africa Economic Development Policy Initiative (AEDPI), a program of the Open Society Foundations. In these roles, she advises nine reform – committed African heads of state, including Paul Kagame of Rwanda and Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia.
Before joining OSF, she was Vice President of the World Bank (Africa Region) in Washington, D.C., responsible for operations in 48 countries and a lending portfolio of nearly $40 billion.
From 2002 to 2007, Dr. Ezekwesili worked for the Federal Government of Nigeria as Minister of Education, Minister of Solid Minerals, Head of the Budget Monitoring and Price Intelligence Unit as well as Chairperson of the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI), where she led the first-ever national implementation of the Global Standards and Principles of Transparency in the oil, gas and mining sectors.
She was a key member of President Olusegun Obasanjo’s Economic Team. For the first two years, she was at the Center for International Development at Harvard University as Director of the Harvard –Nigeria Economic Strategy program in Boston and Abuja, working with Professor Jeffrey Sachs. Dr. Ezekwesili is a Chartered Accountant and holds an MA in International Law and Diplomacy from the University of Lagos, as well as a Masters Degree in Public Policy and Administration from the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. She trained as a Chartered Accountant/Consultant with the Global firm of Akintola Williams Deloitte& Touche. She has worked in Senior Management positions in the financial services sector.
Dr. Ezekwesili is a founding Director of Transparency International, Representing Africa at the global anti corruption body, based in Berlin. She serves on the boards of Bharti Airtel, World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the School of Public Policy of Central European University, Budapest. She is also on the boards of The Harold Hartog School of Government and Policy in Tel Aviv University, Israel; The Center for Global Leadership at Tufts University, Boston, and the New Africa Magazine, among others.
In May 2012, Dr. Ezekwesili was awarded an honorary Doctor of Science degree by the University of Agriculture, Abeokuta in Nigeria. She has also been awarded the Nigerian national honor of the Commander of the Order of the Federal Republic.