Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala to lead WTO and step down from the R4D Board after serving for 7 years

March 19, 2021

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Results for Development (R4D) congratulates Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala on her recent appointment as the director-general of the World Trade Organization (WTO) — the first African national and first woman to hold the WTO position. R4D also extends its sincere appreciation to Dr. Okonjo-Iweala for her guidance and insights, which helped inform R4D’s trajectory since she joined its board of directors in 2014.

“Ngozi has been a major influence on R4D’s strategy,” said Gina Lagomarsino, R4D’s president and CEO. “Our mission is to support change agents to strengthen systems and improve health, education and nutrition outcomes, and as a highly successful change agent herself, Ngozi has advocated for approaches to help us better achieve our mission. For example, she has shared what senior government officials need — practical lessons from other countries — and do not need — inexperienced Northerners to ‘build the capacity’ of experienced African officials. And she has encouraged R4D to build strong peer partnerships with organizations based in the regions where we work. We are so grateful for all that she has done to make R4D a stronger organization, and we know people around the globe will benefit from her gifts in her role as WTO DG.”

David de Ferranti, R4D’s board chair and former president, added: “Ngozi has been a long-time loyal board member and friend of R4D, bringing her wisdom and experience to our work generously, despite the heavy load of other commitments she has had. On more than one occasion, she called into board meetings from faraway places at awful hours of the night for her. Also, she shared insightful ideas and inspiring encouragement unstintingly:  As a featured speaker at R4D events, she kept audiences spellbound with nuggets of sage advice wrapped up in true stories from the high-energy life she has led, traveling between on-the-ground work in communities living with poverty and incisive action in high-level halls of global power.”

During her time on R4D’s board member, Dr. Okonjo-Iweala participated in a number of R4D events, including R4D’s 10th anniversary event, where she spoke about her experiences and the need for INGOs to explore new models for supporting country change agents and local organizations. She has also championed many R4D programs and initiatives, such as the NGO Partner Navigator, which was focused on collaborations with highly-effective local NGOs in Africa.

R4D appreciates Dr. Okonjo-Iweala’s tenure on the board, and her many contributions. Though her new role requires her to step off active service on R4D’s board, we are thrilled to see her bring her leadership to issues around trade, which are so crucial for getting the global economy back on track again.


About Results for Development
Results for Development (R4D) is a leading non-profit global development partner. We collaborate with change agents around the world — government officials, civil society leaders and social innovators — to create strong systems that support healthy, educated people. We help our partners move from knowing their goal to knowing how to reach it. We combine global expertise in health, education and nutrition with analytic rigor, practical support for decision-making and implementation and access to peer problem-solving networks. Together with our partners, we build self-sustaining systems that serve everyone and deliver lasting results. Then we share what we learn so others can achieve results for development, too. For more information, visit our website at:

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