Ndidi Okonkwo Nwuneli: The ever-vibrant Nigerian social entrepreneur

by Duchess Magazine

Ndidi Okonkwo Nwuneli was born on March 22, 1975, at the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital in Enugu, Nigeria. Her parents were American history professor Rina Okonkwo and Nigerian pharmacology professor Paul Obuekwe Okonkwo.

Ndidi is a Nigerian entrepreneur that specialises in charity, social innovation, and African agriculture and nutrition. She is a renowned serial entrepreneur, author, public speaker, and consultant with more than 25 years of expertise in the field of international development. She has led the development and implementation of high-impact programmes with a focus on policy, strategy, organisational design, ecosystem solutions, and growth through her work in the corporate, public, and nonprofit sectors.

She spent her early years attending University Primary School in Enugu, where she was raised. From 1986 to 1991, she completed her secondary education at the Federal Government College in Enugu. At the Clarkson School in Potsdam, New York, she participated in a bridge programme from 1991 to 1992 that combined her senior year of high school and first year of college.

In 1992, Nwuneli studied at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, where she focused on strategic management and multinational management.

Nwuneli obtained a Bachelor of Science in Economics in May 1995 at the age of 20 and graduated magna cum laude.

She started classes at Harvard Business School in 1997. (HBS). She was given the National Black MBA Association Graduation Scholarship and the Harvey Fellowship when she was there, both of which honoured her academic achievements.

Ndidi founded and served as co-chair of the Harvard Annual African Business Conference. She oversaw faculty and student matters as the vice president of the Africa Business Club. She also served as the African American Student Union’s liaison to other countries and the Christian Association’s publicity chair. In 1999, she was 24 and received her MBA.

As a summer business analyst for McKinsey & Company in New York during her junior year of college at The University of Pennsylvania, Ndidi’s career was launched. She received a job offer in 1995 for a Business Analyst position with McKinsey, based in Chicago, Illinois.

Ndidi is a member of the boards of LEAP Africa, AACE Foods, the Fairfax Africa Fund, the Godrej Group, the DSM Sustainability Advisory Board, AGRA, GAIN – the Global Alliance for Better Nutrition, and Nigerian Breweries Plc. Prior to now, from 2011 to 2014, she participated in the World Economic Forum as a committee member of the Global Agenda Council on New Models of Leadership.

Ndidi was selected to the Rockefeller Foundation’s board in 2019 by an American philanthropic organisation.

Ndidi joined the Board of the Nigerian Economic Summit Group in 2021.

By involving the agricultural environment and constructing its ecology, Ndidi hopes to transform the food in West Africa into its own gold.

Awards and Recognitions

Alumni Achievement Award from Harvard Business School in 2021. 

Named amongst Schwab Foundation’s Social Innovators, 2020

Honoree of the Global Fund for Women during their 25th Anniversary Celebration in San Francisco, 2013

Winner of the Harvard Business School Nigeria Business Club 2013 Leading Social Entrepreneur Award

Forbes: 20 Youngest Power Women In Africa, 2011

Excellence Award from Anambra State, 2011

Selected for Harvard Business School’s Africa Business Club’s Excellence Award, 2007

Selected as Young Manager of the Year by THISDAY Newspapers (Nigeria’s leading newspaper), 2005

Received a National Honor – Member of the Federal Republic – from the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on December 16, 2004

Selected as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum, Davos; 2004

Selected as a Global Leader of Tomorrow by the World Economic Forum, Davos Switzerland in 2002.

Ndidi is married to Mezuo Nwuneli.

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