From 1967 to '70, Nigeria fought a war – the Nigeria-Biafra war. And in the middle of that war, I was 14 years old. We spent much of our time with my mother cooking. For the army – my father joined the army as a brigadier – the Biafran army. We were on the Biafran side.
I'm told I'm like my father, and he was the most wonderful man. But I think he was gentler than me.
No one can fight corruption for Nigerians except Nigerians. Everyone has to be committed from the top to the bottom to fight it.
I felt Nigeria didn't have to succumb to the image of being a corrupt country; we didn't have to let the economy stagnate.
Nigeria, with the oil sector, had the reputation of being corrupt and not managing its own public finances well. So what did we try to do? We introduced a fiscal rule that de-linked our budget from the oil price.
The U.K. and the U.S. could not have been built today without Africa's aid. It is all the resources that were taken from Africa, including human, that built these countries today! So when they try to give back, we shouldn't be on the defensive.
I can take hardship. I can sleep on the cold floor anytime. I can also sleep on a feather bed.
My parents lost everything, all their savings, because we had to run from the Nigerian side to the Biafran side. We were Igbos.
When I became finance minister, they called me Okonjo-Wahala – or 'Trouble Woman.' It means 'I give you hell.' But I don't care what names they call me. I'm a fighter; I'm very focused on what I'm doing, and relentless in what I want to achieve, almost to a fault. If you get in my way, you get kicked.
Women account for about 70% of Africa's food production and manage a large proportion of small enterprises. They are also increasingly represented in legislative and executive leadership positions.
I know what it means to go to the stream to fetch water… what it means when people are poor and don't have enough to eat. It's not enough to say you know about poverty. You have to live it.
If we save people from HIV/AIDS, if we save them from malaria, it means they can form the base of production for our economy.
One in four sub-Saharan Africans is Nigerian, and it has 140 million dynamic people – chaotic people – but very interesting people.
I'm trying to tell you that there's a new wave on the continent. A new wave of openness and democratization in which, since 2000, more than two-thirds of African countries have had multi-party democratic elections. Not all of them have been perfect, or will be, but the trend is very clear.
Educating our young girls is the foundation for Nigeria's growth and development.