From the time I left Nigeria to study economics, I was always trying to figure out what could be done to make farmers’ lives better.
For my doctoral thesis I chose the topic of "Rural Financial Markets in Nigeria" and spent months living with rural households all over the country to understand their savings, borrowing, and consumption patterns. That was from 1979 to 1981. While numerous experiments in recent years have yielded promising solutions, the work won’t be done until we’ve revolutionized the lives of African smallholders.
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is the Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Center for Global Development and the former Finance Minister of Nigeria Janeen Madan is a research assistant at the Center for Global Development