Contrary to reports on social media, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, two-time Nigerian minister, was appointed as a member NOT HEAD of South Africa’s presidential economic advisory council.
This clarification was confirmed by close parties to the economist who revealed that she is a member of the council, not the head as being reported on social media.
The council is chaired by Cyril Ramaphosa, the South African president.
Video on Twitter by the official handle of South Africa’s presidency showed the President addressing the advisory council with Okonjo-Iweala seating 7th to the President’s right.
— Cyril Ramaphosa 🇿🇦 (@CyrilRamaphosa) March 6, 2020
Picture from Okonjo-Iweala’s Twitter handled was captioned: “With President Ramaphosa, members of cabinet, and members of the Presidential Economic Advisory Council in Pretoria discussing sources of growth for the South African economy and win-win economic interactions with the continent.”
With President Ramaphosa, members of cabinet, and members of the Presidential Economic Advisory Council in Pretoria discussing sources of growth for the South African economy and win-win economic interactions with the continent. pic.twitter.com/MMhZ3MLneQ
— Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala (@NOIweala) March 7, 2020
In a statement published on its website, the presidency said the council will “ensure greater coherence and consistency in the implementation of economic policy and ensure that government and society in general is better equipped to respond to changing economic circumstances”.
The council, which is made up of local and international economic thought leaders, is expected to “advise the president and government more broadly, facilitating the development and implementation of economic policies that spur inclusive growth.
“The council is a non-statutory and independent body chaired by the president and brings together prominent economists and technical experts drawn from academia, the private sector, labour, community, think tanks and other constituencies. The members, who will volunteer their time and be compensated for subsistence and travel, are appointed to serve a three-year term.”
The council held its second meeting on Friday in Tshwane.
The report of Okonjo-Iweala’s appointment is much more widely reported in Nigeria and scarcely reported in South Africa.
Whatsapp and social media viral messages, most likely from Nigerians, celebrate Okonjo-Iweala’s appointment and commend President Ramaphosa for his Pan-African magnanimity – perhaps many did not expect to see a Nigerian in the advisory council.