Zainab Ahmed, the former Nigerian Minister of Finance, Budget, and National Planning, is set to assume the role of Alternate Executive Director (AED) at the World Bank in Washington, D.C., on July 10, 2023.
However, her appointment has sparked controversy, with allegations that due process was not followed and that she nominated herself without approval from the Nigerian presidency.
Yunusa Tanko, a media adviser to Ahmed, confirmed her new position in a statement, refuting claims of self-nomination and asserting that approval had been obtained from President Muhammadu Buhari. Tanko explained that the World Bank had notified Buhari about the available position in October 2022, and approval was granted in April 2023, with the understanding that Ahmed would assume the role after her tenure as minister ended.
Critics argue that Ahmed’s appointment comes at a time when Nigeria’s economy is grappling with significant challenges. During her tenure, Nigeria’s debt escalated to a record N77 trillion, encompassing both local and foreign borrowings. Observers have expressed concerns about the country’s lack of sound fiscal policies and their economic repercussions.
As an AED, Ahmed will work under Ayanda Dlondlo, the Executive Director of the Africa Group 3 Constituency, representing Angola, Nigeria, and South Africa. The World Bank Group comprises executive directors and alternate executive directors who serve as officials of the bank and representatives of their respective member countries.
The appointment of Zainab Ahmed raises questions about the management of Nigeria’s economy and the accountability of government officials. As Nigeria faces economic challenges and mounting debt, the decision to appoint Ahmed to a prominent international position has drawn criticism and intensified debates over transparency and responsible governance.