Meet Arunma Oteh, the former vice president and first black treasurer of the World Bank

Arunma Oteh is the former Treasurer of the World Bank and was the first black person to take up the position. Photo credit: Arunma Oteh, Facebook

Arunma Oteh is a Nigerian-British national from Abia State, Southeastern Nigeria. The renowned economist and financial expert has held executive roles in many national and international organizations. She started her career in 1985 at Centre Point Investments Limited, and joined the African Development Bank (AFDB) in 1992, where she worked for 17 years and held several executive roles, including Senior Investment Officer/Senior Capital Markets Officer (193 – 1997), Division Manager of Investments and Trading Room (1997 – 2001), and Group Treasurer (2001 – 2006), and Group Vice President – Corporate Services (2006 – 2009).

She served as the Director-General of the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) in Nigeria from 2010 – 2015, during which she restructured the Nigerian Capital Market after the global financial crisis, and also served on Nigeria’s Economic Management Team. On September 30, 2015, she joined the World Bank as Vice President and Treasurer. As Treasurer, she led the team that managed a USD 200 billion debt portfolio, assets totaling USD 200 billion for 65 internal and external clients, including the World Bank Group, central banks, sovereign wealth funds, and other official institutions.

She and her team also maintained the World Bank’s global reputation as a prudent and innovative borrower in over 50 currencies, by executing transactions and carefully coordinating credit rating and capital market relationships for the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and the International Development Association (IDA). The team also leveraged a derivatives portfolio of more than USD 600 billion for risk management and processed annual cashflows of more than USD 7 trillion. She was also responsible for an extensive financial advisory business for clients of the World Bank.

She left the World Bank in 2018 and joined St. Anthony’s College as an Academic Scholar and Executive-In-Residence at SAID Business School. Her research areas of focus at the Business School are focused on capital markets, economic development, and financial technology. She advises the School on Africa, Entrepreneurship, Finance, and Sustainability, and recently co-chaired the School’s Anti-Racism Initiative Taskforce.

Arunma has served on other institutions, including the World Economic Forum Agenda Council Institutional Governance, the Africa Advisory Council for World Women’s Banking, and the London Stock Exchange Africa Advisory Group. She also served on several Boards in her 33-year career, including the International Organization of Securities Commissions (2010 – 2015), which regulates 95% of the world’s securities markets; the Nigeria Pension Commission; International Financing Facility for Immunization (2006 – 2011), and the African Middle East Regional Committee.

On October 2022, FSD Africa, a specialist development agency focused on making finance work for Africa’s future, appointed Arunma Oteh as a non-executive director.

In recognition of her contribution to the economic development of Nigeria and her role in transforming the Nigeria capital markets, Arunma Oteh received a National Honor – Officer of the Order of the Niger (OON). She also received the “Distinction in Public Service” award from the Commonwealth Business Council/African Business in 2011. In 2014, she won the CNBCC Africa All Africa Business Leaders Awards (AABLA) Business Woman of the Year Category for West Africa.

Additionally, Arunma was also named the Africa Investor Capital Market Personality of the Year in 2014. In 2016, she received the New African Women Award in Finance and Banking, and was listed by Forbes as one of 2020 Africa’s 50 Most Powerful Women. In 2015, she was among the New African Magazine’s 100 Most Influential Africans. In 2018 she was named the Ai Global Institutional Investment Personality of the Year.

Arunma earned a First Class honors degree in Computer Science in 1984 from the University of Nigeria, and an MBA in 1990 from Harvard Business School. She is the Co-editor of the book, African Voices, African Visions, first published in 2001.

Last Edited by:Annie-Flora Mills Updated: April 7, 2023


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