Ngozi is from Ogwashi-Uku, Delta State. She was educated at Harvard University and earned her Ph.D. in regional economics and development from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
She is also the former Finance Minister and Foreign Minister of Nigeria, notable for being the first woman to hold either of those positions. She served as finance minister from July 2003 until her appointment as foreign minister in June 2006, and as foreign minister until her resignation in August 2006.
She was once considered as a possible replacement for former World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz. In 2007 she was appointed as Managing Director of the World Bank by World Bank President Robert Zoellick.
Her NGO, NOI Global Consulting, partnered with the Gallup Organization to introduce an opinion poll, the NOI poll, into the Nigerian polity. She is a fellow at the Brookings Institution and serves on the Advisory Board of Global Financial Integrity and the World Resources Institute.
Okonjo-Iweala is married with four children.