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Femme the future: Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Nigeria’s former minister of finance, joins Twitter

Twitter co-founder and CEO Jack Dorsey has announced the addition of former senior World Bank official and Nigeria’s minister of finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, as an independent director to the board

Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is one of two new appointees to the Twitter board. According to the Form 8-K filed by Twitter to the Securities and Exchange Commission, Dr Okonjo-Iweala will serve as a Class One director and her term is expected to end at the 2020 stockholders annual meeting. Dr Okonjo-Iweala, who is currently the senior adviser at a global financial advisory and asset management firm, is likely joining the board on the basis of her experience in finance and policy.

Most notably she served as the World Bank’s managing director from December 2007 until August 2011. Prior to that she was Nigeria’s minister of finance from July 2003 to June 2006 and minister of finance and coordinating minister for the economy from August 2011 until May 2015 thereafter. She has also held several other posts at the World Bank. This cumulative experience with the international financial institution may be the reason that her tenure with the board is longer than that of her newly appointed counterpart.

Commenting on her appointment, Dr Okonjo-Iweala said in a statement, “Twitter is a powerful platform that continues to be used as a strong connector for the global community, and I’m thrilled to be a part of the team. As we strive to build a better world for tomorrow, Twitter can amplify messages and drive critical conversations around today’s most important issues. I look forward to partnering with Twitter’s talented directors and leadership team as we work to leverage the power of Twitter for good.”

Her newly appointed colleague, Robert Zoellick, whose term will end in 2019, is also a previous head of the World Bank and has served in several other high-profile government positions, including as the US deputy secretary of state, trade representative, White House deputy chief of staff, undersecretary of state for economic and agricultural affairs and counselor of the US Department of State.

Read: Swahili becomes the first African language recognised by Twitter

Omid Kordestani, Twitter’s executive chairman, said in a press statement, “Ngozi and Bob are distinguished leaders with unparalleled global perspective and policy expertise. We are confident they will be incredible assets to Twitter as we continue to focus on driving transparency and making Twitter a safer, healthier place for everyone who uses our service.”

Despite Dr Okonjo-Iweala’s extensive experience, concerns have been raised about her compatibility with the platform. Although she has over 870 000 followers, the new independent Twitter director barely uses the social media app.

To this, the company’s co-founder, Jack Dorsey, tweeted:

Twitter has been making strides towards diversity, recently adding Swahili as one of its recognised languages, thereby engaging and legitimising more of its African users. With this appointment, Dr Okonjo-Iweala will be the only Nigerian on the board, adding more still to the company’s diversity endeavour.

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