One Nigerian has been part of the day-to-day running of one of the world’s biggest international lenders, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and at the same time representing 23 African countries at the Bretton Woods institution — while advising his country’s president and central bank governor. Guess who? Kingsley Isitua Obiora.
Kingsley Obiora, who had his first degree in economics and statistics at the University of Benin, and was named the overall best graduating student at graduation in 1999.
He went on to the nation’s premier university, the University of Ibadan, where he had his master’s degree in economics, became a serial best — with a distinction at master’s level and overall best graduating student award, again. Not only was he the best, TheCable understands that he was also the first to get a distinction in that programme in over 20 years — breaking another record.
He got a scholarship from the African Economic Research Consortium (AERC) for his PhD and enrolled for a doctoral degree in economics, specialising in monetary and international economics. At the age of 31, he was done with his doctoral degree from a Nigerian university.
From primary education to PhD, Obiora was trained in Nigeria, but this did not stop the IMF from finding him out upon conclusion of his doctoral degree through the globally-competitive “Economist Program” in 2007. He clinched another record by becoming the first African to be recruited directly from an African university by the Bretton Woods institution. IMF usually recruits Africans who graduated from Western universities such as MIT, Yale, Oxford, Harvard and Cambridge. But Obiora was made in Nigeria.
Since his academic and career distinction of the early 2000s, Obiora has directly supported the economic policies of three presidents, including the incumbent. While working at the Centre for Econometric and Allied Research (CEAR) between 2003 and 2006, he contributed to the development of an econometric forecasting model for Policy analyses for Nigeria’s National Planning Commission.
He also contributed to modelling and estimation of the macroeconomic framework for Nigeria’s National Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy (NEEDS) II programme under former president Olusegun Obasanjo.
He also served as technical adviser to the National Economic Management Team and special assistant to the chief economic adviser to former president Goodluck Jonathan.