Ezekwesili, Others Bag Weizsäcker Fellowship in Germany

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Former Minister of Education, Dr. Obiageli Ezekwesili has been awarded a Richard von Weizsäcker Fellowship at the Robert Bosch Academy in Berlin from September 2019 to February 2020.

Other recipients are an international mediator from South Africa, Brian Currin; former Irish Ambassador, David Donoghue; and former Mayor of the City of Wroclaw, Rafał Dutkiewicz.

Among others are a Professor of Science and Engineering at the Harvard Kennedy School, Sheila Jasanoff; Furosemide Manji; and Natalie Nougayrède.

Since its foundation in 2014, more than 65 decision-makers and experts from around the world have spent a residency at the academy.

While announcing Ezekwesili’s award, the academy said: “She will design a pathway for Nigeria out of its stagnant politics” after the programme.

Ezekwesili, an economic policy expert and Senior Adviser at the Africa Economic Development Policy Initiative, is a co-founder of the global anti-corruption group, Transparency International, and formerly a Vice-President of World Bank’s Africa Programme. She was a former Minister of Solid Minerals and later of Education in Nigeria.

The academy, in a statement, said the fellowship was offered to her and others for being “decision-makers, opinion leaders and experts who are solution-oriented on global affairs.”

It also read: “The Richard von Weizsäcker Fellowship was established in honour of the former President of Germany.

“The fellowship offers a residency of several months in Berlin to outstanding personalities from around the world. Residencies at the Robert Bosch Academy provide fellows with the intellectual and physical space to pursue individual research and outreach activities on topics beyond their normal professional commitments.

“During her fellowship, Ezekwesili, a technocrat, who recently ventured into politics and ran for the office of President of Nigeria in the 2019 election, will investigate the nexus between politics and the unsatisfying results of economic management and nation-building process of Nigeria and more broadly, Africa.”

The statement added: “Drawing immensely from her experiences in the 2019 election and her years as an economic reform expert, she plans to propose as well as execute a rescue plan to structurally change politics and political outcomes in her country, Nigeria and Africa widely.

“Combining analytics, work study group, case studies, experimentations and experiential activities during her fellowship, Ezekwesili will interrogate political incentives, political institutions and the standard of political actors necessary to raise the quality of governance in her country, Nigeria and Africa broadly.”

The statement added: “Ezekwesili is convinced that setting Africa’s politics and political landscape right is fundamental to instituting a strong pattern of good governance that will help convert her country and the continent’s huge endowment of natural and human resources into lasting assets for equitable economic growth and development.

“The presidential candidate in the 2019 election considers her mission of fixing Nigeria’s and Africa’s politics a creditable pathway for attaining good governance, inclusive and shared economic prosperity, harmony and political stability.”

Also, in a statement shared by her spokesperson, Mr. Ozioma Ubabukoh, Ezekwesili said: “It is the worst variant of politics that breeds poor governance in my country and continent, leads to dismal economic performance and entrenches pernicious poverty.

“Politics badly trumps economics in Nigeria and Africa broadly. The bad politics and poor governance then combine to terribly trap majority of our citizens in extreme poverty. Nigeria has the largest number of extremely poor people in the world and is ignoble designated as the global capital of poverty.

“By 2030 Africa will be the continent with more than 80 per cent of the world’s poor. There is thus a fierce urgency, intentionality and deliberateness required to fix the root cause of poverty in our country and continent. I have identified as bad politics.”

She added: “My time as a Richard Von Weizsäcker Fellow of the Robert Bosch Academy in Berlin will combine academic, experimental and experiential activities to design a #RescuePlan. The overriding goal is that #FixPoliticsDotOrg will transform politics as we currently know it in Nigeria and Africa.”