“The average global tenure for a Finance Minister is two years…I made it seven very tough years!”- Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, talks China, climate and corruption

On December 5th 2018

Development Reimagined convened the inaugural event of the ‘DR Lens On: Global Development & China’ series at the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), featuring the esteemed and accomplished Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, former Finance Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and former Managing Director of the World Bank.

The event focused on “China’s Role in Financing African Development” and critically examined the constellation of development finance options available to Africans. Moderated by Emily Feng, Correspondent with the Financial Times, the event kicked off by discussing the landscape of financing in Africa and the role of China. Dr. Okonjo-Iweala began by creating awareness about Africa’s infrastructure financing deficit. She told the audience, “2/3 of the infrastructure that Africa needs is yet to be built.”

On the topic of China’s role in financing Africa’s development, Dr. Ngozi stated “let’s not make a Christmas tree of our relationship with China”. She stressed the importance of tapping into Africa’s own internal financing potential before looking at external financiers like China. She spoke about the large size of some African countries pension funds – notably South Africa and Nigeria and the role they could play in financing Africa’s development. Furthermore, she stressed the need to revamp tax policy to capture the financial power of the informal economy. Dr. Okonjo-Iweala told the captivated audience, which included several African Ambassadors to China, that African countries needed to adopt savvy policies and leverage technology to formalize the economy. She shared examples of entrepreneurship programs that the government of Nigeria held that serve dual purposes of supporting entrepreneurship while also bringing young entrepreneurs into the formal economy.

With the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP24) kicking off in Poland this month, Dr. Ngozi discussed the many challenges faced by African countries to combating and mitigating climate change. “Africa did not contribute to many of the challenges posed by climate change but is struggling with the biggest impacts.” She highlighted the opportunity that Africa’s infrastructure gap provides – as the infrastructure deficit gives Africa a chance to build greener, low carbon and more sustainable infrastructure than exists in the already developed parts of the world.

Lastly, Dr. Okonjo-Iweala spoke candidly about her new book ‘Fighting Corruption is Dangerous’,providing insights on the challenges of directing and managing large financial flows in African countries. She spoke about the personal trials she faced in her fight against corruption. She stated, “they were trying to kill me. And if they couldn’t kill me, they wanted to destroy my reputation so I couldn’t function.” Dr. Okonjo-Iweala emphasize that self-awareness, strong set of values and principles and an ironclad reputation are important elements when trying to tackle corruption, which she stressed is ‘corrosive to development’. She ended with a call to action to the Africans in the room, ‘We as Africans should stand tall because we have so much to be proud of…Each African should pledge that they will not be part of any corrupt deal – it starts with us.”

Over 75 guests including 5 Ambassadors joined in the event to share their insights and opinions during a lively Q&A session.The meeting was held under Chatham House rules, to encourage frank discussion, and translation was provided from English to French and to Chinese.

The event was co-hosted with AFRI-CAN, a network of independent thinkers from African republics and members of the African diaspora communities that aims to design a strong community that is empowered by sharing resources with members bound together by a shared heritage. The President and co-founder of AFRI-CAN: Dr Bright Ohene gave closing remarks and stressed the need for collaboration among Africans to achieve the continent’s goals.

The event concluded with Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala signing a number of books for event participants and engaging with participants.

Development Reimagined is thankful to the AIIB for hosting our inaugural DR Lens On: Global Development & China event, and for working with us to make it a success.

Looking forward and in a bid to create a forum for the freshest development ideas in the world, Development Reimagined will continue to curate a season of panel events that strike a balance between addressing current events and advocating for development challenges in a timely manner.

The next event will he hosted early in 2019, and will focus on the ‘Future of Food’.  To sponsor or participate in our next event, contact us at: interns@developmentreimagined.com

View all photos at: https://crimson.pixieset.com/g/inauguraldrlensonglobaldevelopmentandchina/ 

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EDMOND BOSILONG

Research Analyst

Edmond is a research analyst who is passionate about sustainable development, innovation, and the environment. Passionate about climate financing, he firmly believe there is a more reliable system to promote equality, growth, and welfare in societies without affecting the ecosystem. Through his skills, knowledge and experienced gained over 7 years, he wants to make an impact in the world of development. Edmond holds a Master’s Degree in Public Policy from Korea Development Institute and a BA Degree (Honors) in Business from University of Derby.

HANNAH RYDER

Founder and CEO

Hannah Ryder is the Founder & CEO of Development Reimagined. A former diplomat and economist with 20 years of experience, named one of 100 most influential Africans in 2021, she is also Senior Associate for the Africa Program of the Center for Strategic International Studies (CSIS), sits on the Board of the Environmental Defence Fund, and is a member of UAE's International Advisory Council on the New Economy. Prior to her role at DR, Ms Ryder led the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)’s work with China to help it scale up and improve its cooperation with other developing countries, including in Africa. She has also played various advisory roles for the UN and OECD and co-authored the seminal Stern Review of the Economics of Climate Change in 2006.

LEAH LYNCH

Deputy Director

Leah Lynch is Deputy Director of Development Reimagined (DR), and head of the China office. Leah has over 10 years of experience in development and has lived in China for over 8 years. Leah has also travelled extensively around Asia and Africa for research. Leah supports the strategic direction of the team across China, with a mission to deliver high quality research on sustainable development and poverty reduction. Leah is also Chair of the Sustainability Forum at the British Chamber of Commerce in China, providing direction on sustainability initiatives for British and Chinese business. Leah has also consulted on various evaluations on UK aid (ICAI) and is a specialist on development cooperation from the UK and China. Leah has also consulted on various UN projects, including providing support to the UN China team during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Prior to DR, Leah was at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) China, supporting the UN’s portfolio on communication strategies, China’s South- South Cooperation and the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Before UNDP, Leah lived and worked in Kenya developing sustainable water policies for the Kenyan government.

YIKE FU

China-Africa Policy Analyst

Yike Fu is a Policy Analyst and has been responsible for leading numerous areas of work, including on debt analysis in Africa and beyond, and China-Africa trade and investment logistics and analysis. She is the co-author of “African Debt Guide”, in which she challenged the narrative that Africa is in the midst of a new debt crisis by analysing data back to the 1970s and adopting new metrics to present the real story behind the data. She also developed a benchmark to compare the financial distribution of development partners such as the UK, US, Japan, France and China in Africa. Prior to her role at DR she worked at the International Finance Corporation and African Union Representational Mission to the US. She holds a Masters in International Affairs from George Washington University.

JUDITH MWAI

Research Analyst

Judith is a Research and Policy Analyst, where she specialises in Africa-China relations, international development, and diplomacy. During her time at Development Reimagined, Judith has co-authored several articles published in The Diplomat on debt and China-Barbados relations and was quoted by China Daily in a piece on Women Rights in China. Previously, Judith worked as a research analyst for an Advocate and Commissioner and Oats office in Kenya.

OVIGWE EGUEGU

Policy Analyst

Ovigwe specialises in geopolitics with particular reference to Africa in a changing Global Order. He is adept at critically analysing the politics of contemporary development processes and providing insight into the geopolitical interests that influence them. His work includes research, publications, tailored briefings and advising on global and regional trends, and issues at the nexus of geopolitics and development. Ovigwe appears frequently in media around the world such as Al Jazeera, TRT World, SABC, CGTN, BBC Radio, and other platforms.

JING CAI

Policy Analyst

Jing leads China-African health and agriculture cooperation research at Development Reimagined, having managed our FOCAC Policy Analysis and Advocacy project. She is also the co-author of “China-Africa Health Cooperation under FOCAC Umbrella”, in which she analysed China’s commitments around health cooperation since the first FOCAC summit and deepdived into four African countries’ health overview, challenges and cooperation with China as cases studies. Before DR, Jing worked at GIZ Cambodia on M&E of a disability advocacy project. She also worked as a translator with Chinese medical team in Benin.

PATRICK ANAM

Trade Policy Analyst

Patrick is an International Trade Policy and Trade Law Expert with over 5 years of experience. His expertise includes trade law, trade policy analysis and regional integration. He is currently engaged with Development Reimagined as a Senior Trade Analyst and was the lead author of Development Reimagined's recent Report on Africa-China Relations titled "From China-Africa to Africa- China: A Blue Print for a Green and Inclusive Continent-Wide Strategy Towards China." and “Reimaging FOCAC Going Forward.” Patrick has previously consulted for the East African Community, UNECA and for the Kenya Ministry of Trade.

ROSIE FLOWERS

Senior Policy Analyst 

Rosemary is our Senior Policy Analyst. She is a skilled policy analyst and has previously worked as a UK civil servant. She is studying Human Rights at Birkbeck, University of London with a research focus on international law in the context of health crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

JADE SCARFE

Project Manager and Africa-China Communication Assistant

Jade is a Project Manager for Development Reimagined’s flagship project Africa Unconstrained, which focuses on financing needs and debt vulnerabilities of African countries. Her research focuses on China-Africa development finance alongside debt vulnerabilities, infrastructure needs and South-South cooperation. She has worked with a breadth of stakeholders from China, Africa and the wider international community, including governments, private sector, NGOs and civil society. Her writing has appeared in a number of publications, including The Africa Report, The China-Africa Project, The Diplomat and more. Jade holds a Master’s in China and Globalisation studies from King’s College London.

ROSIE WIGMORE

Programme Manager

Rosie is the Project Manager of Africa Reimagined (AR) at Development Reimagined (DR) where she supports high-end African brands with entering the Chinese market by operating services such as trademark protection, Chinese market research, Chinese partnership building, and Africa to China logistical support and import/export services. Rosie has worked with DR for over two years now with proven success in helping high-end African brands navigate the Chinese market. She is extremely passionate about her work because more African brands selling in the Chinese marketplace means African countries can export MORE value-added goods, create MORE jobs and foster MORE innovation in African countries.

Rosie is also alumni of the School of International Studies at Peking University in Beijing where she is also an editor at the Peking Africa Think Tank. PATT is led by a diverse group of scholars who specialise in African Studies within the context of Sino-Africa relations.

LAUREN ASHMORE

Consultant

Lauren has lived in six countries from the Americas to Europe and Asia and speaks both French and Spanish proficiently. At Development Reimagined, Lauren’s research focuses on climate action both in the Asia-Pacific and in Africa, and how countries are using tools such as SDGs and Covid-19 action to build a more climate-resilient future. She holds a Masters in International Relations from Leiden University.

ETSEHIWOT KEBRET

Consultant

Etsehiwot holds a Masters’s degree in Development Studies from the London School of Economics. She has diverse experience in humanitarian and development issues by working in both multilateral organizations and international non-governmental organizations. Etsehiwot is currently a consultant focusing on the SDGs and development finance.

DIBEKULU MULU

Economist Consultant

Dibekulu is an economist by training. He holds an MSc in International Development Studies from Palacky University Olomouc, an MSc in Development Economics from the University of Clermont Auvergne, and an MSc in Economics, Finance, and International Integration from the University of Pavia. At Development Reimagined, he works as an Economist consultant. He has strong data analysis skills, with research interests centring around development finance, impact assessment, food security, and agricultural insurance.

OSARU OMOSIGHO

Research Analyst

Osaru is a health professional with an MSc in Health Systems Policy and an interest in women’s health and population management. At Development Reimagined, she applies her health sector experience to global health research and collating locally applicable development insights from China.

PIER FERDINANDO CINOTTO

Research Analyst

Ferdinando’s research at Development Reimagined is centred on South-South Cooperation dynamics, specifically on the analysis of Chinese investment and debt flows in Africa and their linkages to African industrialisation. He is currently a Yenching Scholar at Peking University, after having graduated from the University of Cambridge with an MPhil in Development Studies.

DAVID TINASHE NYAGWETA

Research Analyst

David is a Research and data analyst at Development Reimagined. His scholarly focus is mostly on interdisciplinary research in demographic economics and development with interests in migration, economic development and policy, education, health and subjective well-being. He is currently a PhD scholar at Nelson Mandela University from which he also holds B.com Economics and Statistics and M.com respectively.

IVORY KAIRO

Research Analyst Kenya

Ivory is a Kenyan lawyer with experience in policy research and analysis. She also supports the communications team at DR. Ivory speaks English, Swahili and French.

JOY ENE

Research And Data Analyst China 

Joy Ene is a Research and Data Analyst at DR. Joy is passionate about African/global development, poverty eradication and trade policies between underdeveloped and developing countries. She is also a fourth-year student of International Economics and Trade at the  Liaoning University, Shenyang, China. She serves as the President of the Student Union, Liaoning University, International Students chapter.

CHENSI LI

Research Analyst 

Chensi Li is a research analyst. She has previously worked for local NGOs in Nigeria and Cameroon and think-tanks in China.  Her research areas include Sino-African relations, African foreign affairs, public diplomacy, state-building and national governance.