Global Economy Prize 2023

19 Jun 2023
24105 Kiel
Landeshaus, Düsternbrooker Weg 70

The Global Economy Prize is awarded to pioneers of a cosmopolitan, economically liberal, and public-spirited society. This year, the award focused on the development of Africa.

The Global Economy Prize was awarded for the 18th time by the Kiel Institute for the World Economy together with its partners, the state capital Kiel and the Schleswig-Holstein Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

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Award Ceremony Global Economy Prize 2023 - Livestream Replay

Prize Winners

Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

Director General, World Trade Organization

The jury's reasoning:

"Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is a strong and powerful leader, a global finance expert, a renowned economist and an international development professional with over 30 years of experience. She was being key to developing the economic reforms that helped stabilize Nigeria’s economy and improve fiscal transparency. Her strong personal commitment and determination to root out fraudulent schemes that drain the country of resources and deprive the poor of crucial services makes her a veritable vanguard in the fight against corruption. She is a firm believer in the power of trade to lift developing countries out of poverty -especially in the context of multilateralism - and help them achieve robust economic growth and sustainable development. Dr Okonjo-Iweala is a skilled and tenacious negotiator and is considered an effective consensus builder who enjoys the trust of governments and other stakeholders." 

Website WTO Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is the seventh Director-General of the WTO. She took office as WTO Director-General on 1 March 2021, becoming the first woman and the first African to serve as Director-General. She is a global finance expert, an economist and international development professional with over 30 years of experience working in Asia, Africa, Europe, Latin America and North America. 

She graduated magna cum laude with an A.B. in Economics from Harvard University (1976) and earned a Ph.D. in Regional Economics and Development from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT, 1981). She has received honorary degrees from 15 universities worldwide.  

Dr Okonjo-Iweala had a 25-year career at the World Bank as a development economist, rising to the No. 2 position of Managing Director, Operations. She served twice as Minister of Finance and Economy of Nigeria (2003-2006 and 2011-2015) and briefly acted as Foreign Minister in 2006, the first woman to hold these positions. Her achievements as Finance Minister garnered international recognition for improving Nigeria’s financial stability (e.g., she negotiated $30 billion in debt relief with rich countries) and fostering greater fiscal transparency to combat corruption. She is a skilled and tenacious negotiator and is considered an effective consensus builder who enjoys the trust of governments and other stakeholders.

She is a firm believer in the power of trade to lift developing countries out of poverty and assist them to achieve robust economic growth and sustainable development. As Finance Minister, she was involved in trade negotiations with other West African countries and contributed to the overhaul of Nigeria's trade policy enabling it to enhance its competitiveness. 

Dr. Eleni Gabre-Madhin

Chief Innovation Officer, United Nations Development Program, Regional Bureau for Africa

The jury's reasoning:

“Eleni Gabre-Madhin is a committed, courageous, far-sighted and socially responsible entrepreneur who, through her innovative initiatives, has helped to improve the living conditions and opportunities of the rural population and numerous young people in several African countries. As founder and head of the Ethiopia Commodity Exchange, she secured the livelihoods of over 15 million smallholder farmers. With eleni LLC, she founded a pioneering company for the development of commodity exchanges in frontier markets in Africa. She founded and led Ethiopia's leading incubator and investor for agribusiness startups, blue moon, and is currently implementing a revolutionary funding initiative for pioneering youth startups in Africa as Chief Innovation Officer of UNDP's African office.”

Website United Nations Eleni Gabre-Madhin

Dr Eleni Gabre-Madhin currently serves as the Chief Innovation Officer of the United Nations Development Programme’s Regional Bureau for Africa, where she is taking the lead in launching timbuktoo, a revolutionary private-public Youth Start-up Innovation Financing Facility for Africa. She has over 25 years of experience in designing and implementing innovative solutions and is a globally recognized thought-leader and respected voice on African development, agricultural commodity markets, entrepreneurship and youth innovation. Before joining UNDP, she held prior senior positions at the World Bank, the International Food Policy Research Institute in Washington, D.C., the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) in Geneva and served on the boards of a number of international corporate and non-profit organizations. 

Dr. Gabre-Madhin is founder and chief executive of blueMoon, Ethiopia’s top incubator and early-stage agribusiness startup investor, as well as founder and chair of Ethiopia’s first co-working space company, blueSpace. Prior to this, she founded eleni, Africa’s leader in designing, building, and supporting commodity exchanges in frontier markets, with projects in Ghana, Tanzania, Nigeria, Mozambique, Cameroon, and Rwanda. Between 2006 and 2012, Eleni conceived, designed, and ran the highly acclaimed Ethiopia Commodity Exchange (ECX), successfully trading $1.2 billion annually after just 3 years of operation and impacting the livelihoods of over 15 million small farmers. 

Gabre-Madhin holds a doctorate in applied economics from Stanford University, a MSc in Agricultural Economics from Michigan State University and a B.A. in economics from Cornell University. 

Prof. Leonard Wantchekon, Ph.D.

Founder and President, African School of Economics, and Professor, Princeton University

The jury's reasoning:

“Leonard Wantchekon is not only an outstanding political economist, economic historian, and development economist, but also a far-sighted and assertive scientific entrepreneur. His unique perspective on development economics - not least shaped by his personal background - his innovative scientific methods, and his resulting groundbreaking work published in leading journals have earned him worldwide recognition in the profession. With the African School of Economics (ASE), which he founded and directs, he is opening the way for African students to receive an internationally recognized education in economics. The ASE curriculum reflects Leonard Wantchekon's unique perspective on economic issues by combining rigorous methodological training with multidisciplinary content on Africa's past and present. It thereby provides students with a high level of understanding of development across the continent.” 

Website Princeton University Leonard Wantchekon

Leonard Wantchekon is the James Madison Professor of Political Economy and Professor of Politics and International Affairs at Princeton University, and founder and president of the African School of Economics.  

A scholar with diverse interests, Wantchekon has made substantive and methodological contributions to the fields of political economy, economic history, and development economics. 

He has conducted groundbreaking studies of political institutions and governance, using field experiments with real politicians participating in real elections to examine the effects of broad political messages and campaign strategies on voting behavior and outcomes.  

In "The Paradox of Warlord Democracy," he introduced a new philosophical approach to political economy by examining the conditions under which liberal democracies can emerge from civil wars and outlining the implications of this argument for classical political theory and contemporary social theory regarding democratization and authoritarianism. 

In addition, Wantchekon's research includes groundbreaking studies of the long-term impact of historical events. His paper "Slave Trade and the Origins of Mistrust in Africa" (AER, 2011, co-authored with Nathan Nunn), for example, links current differences in trust levels within Africa to the transatlantic slave trade and the Indian Ocean slave trade, and is widely considered one of the foundational works in the emerging field of cultural economics. His paper "Critical Junctures" (co-authored with Omar Garcia Ponce) also concludes that the level of democracy in Africa after the Cold War can be traced to the nature of the anti-colonial independence movements. 

More recently, Wantchekon has developed a novel approach to studying the impact of education on social mobility by analyzing historical microdata from the first regional schools in late 19th and early 20th century Benin.  

The African School of Economics (ASE), which he founded, gives students from all over West Africa the opportunity to attend an internationally competitive master's program. ASE strives not only to provide young researchers with rigorous methodological training, but also to give them the opportunity to actively apply the theoretical knowledge gained to current societal problems in close collaboration with government agencies, international organizations and businesses. The University's multidisciplinary curricula, which combine modern economic thinking with African history, provide students with a dynamic understanding of the processes and events that shape development across the continent. 


Joint Welcome Note 
Monika Heinold, Deputy Minister President of the State of Schleswig-Holstein 
Dr. Ulf Kämpfer, Lord Mayor of the City of Kiel 
Knud Hansen, Vice-President Chamber of Industry and Commerce Schleswig-Holstein 
Prof. Dr. Moritz Schularick, President Kiel Institute

Opening Address 
Prof. Dr. Moritz Schularick, President Kiel Institute (from June 1, 2023)

Musical Intermezzo 
Alexandra Rotmann, Vocals 

Laudations and Price Award by Prof. Dr. Moritz Schularick to the prize winners: 

Prof. Leonard Wantchekon, Ph.D., Founder and President, African School of Economics, and Professor, Princeton University 

Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Director General, World Trade Organization  

Dr. Eleni Gabre-Madhin, Chief Innovation Officer, United Nations Development Programme, Regional Bureau for Africa


Moderation: Elisabeth Radke, Kiel Institute