Newsreel 14/5/2014 - Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala Interview with Yahoo News

[ Masterweb Reports: Dr Okonjo-Iweala Interviewed by Katie Couric of Yahoo News ] – Katie Couric: Dr. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala is Nigeria’s Finance Minister named recently as one of Time’s most influential people. I know that Abuja as we are talking is hosting the World Economic Forum on Africa right now, are you concerned about how the image of Nigeria is being projected all around the world at a time when you are trying to encourage Western investors?
 
 
The WEFA has just ended and it has been a success for the girls. Over 1,000 participants were in attendance – world leaders as well as global business leaders as well as African business leaders. And they came to show that they would stand against terror. That they will not accept that people can abduct girls and stop their education.
 
 
Specific initiatives also came out of the WEFA. There is a Safe Schools Initiative where Nigerian businesses have come forward in collaboration with Gordon Brown, former Prime Minister of Britain, to set up an initiative supported by business to set up safe schools for the girls and they said if the government matches them they put up 10 million dollars immediately, they will use it to launch this initiative. The president of Nigeria has announced that he will match that immediately.
 
 
That is over and above all the efforts of the government so far to try and protect the schools better. So a specific initiative, solidarity of the international community and global business, with the girls and a very large turnout. This is the second largest World Economic Forum turnout outside of Davos, according to WEF itself. So it has been a success for the girls and solidarity for Nigeria.
 
 
Katie Couric: Let’s talk about the more pressing matter of the nearly three hundred girls who are still missing. There has been a tidal wave of criticism about the Nigerian government’s response to these kidnappings, are you confident that President Jonathan’s administration has done or is doing all it can to rescue these girls?
 
 
The President has openly pledged his commitment to do everything to rescue these girls, and what I said before on CNN is accepting that the government did not communicate what it was doing previously, because there was some element of reticence so as not to cause harm to the girls. That should not have been the case, it should have been that there was communication so that the Nigerian public and the parents of these girls know that action is being taken. Since that time the government has stepped up action, has appealed to the international community for help and is accepting help from the US, France, the UK, China and they are all coming in. The government has stepped up the number of troops that are working there and is working with countries that have satellite imagery to do more.
 
 
Katie Couric: Are you confident that the girls will be found, where are they, because it’s been rumoured that many of them have been taken across the border to Chad?
 
 
Katie, no one can answer that question. There is no one who can tell you with confidence. What we can tell you is that every single possible resource will be used to track these girls. You are dealing with people who are irrational. It is unacceptable that girls should be taken anywhere in the world, and they do not represent any religion, as you have heard many muslims have rejected what they have done. You have heard Prime Minister Cameron said this is not a Nigerian problem, it is a global problem. You have heard President Obama said we should stand against these terrorists. This is a global problem, we need to come together and fight against it and Nigeria is accepting any help it can do with.
 
 
Katie Couric: How trustworthy is President Goodluck Jonathan? Why do the families seem to know where the girls are but the government does not?(Question from tweets)
 
 
I’m not sure that characterization is correct, I think we should view this in a much more complex manner. The President said they searched in the Sambisa forest, they were not using aerial surveillance, they were not able to find the girls. This is a large area and it is not clear whether they are still together in a group or whether they have been split up, and the whole idea is that nothing should be done to harm the girls. In the past, the country has used some aerial surveillance but you can’t do that because you don’t want to end up harming the girls.
 
 
So the characterization that the parents know more than the government, I don’t want to enter into that because I have to tell you I’m not a security expert. But I can only tell you that much that I know and that is to share with you the commitment of the government and the country and the solidarity of the people coming together on this issue of bringing back the girls.
 
 
Katie Couric: Dr. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala do you have daughters?
 
 
I have a daughter, I have four children. That is why I came out to say it is unacceptable, it is unimaginable that anyone would take these children. Anyone who has children, sons or daughters, one of the most unbelievable thing is the agony of not knowing where your loved one is. My mother was kidnapped in mid December 2012, and for five agonizing days we did not know where she was. I have actually experienced it; this is not from theory, it is one of the most terrible nightmares you could dream about. So, for me, it is deep pain and depression to know that for their mothers who are waiting, these are our daughters and we have to get them back.
 
 
Katie Couric: As Finance Minister I know that this week your ambition is to promote vast growth and current economic opportunity that exists in Nigeria, in fact the nation now leads the entire African continent in terms of GDP, but an estimated 62% of the population live in extreme poverty, do you believe thi
 
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