Ndidi Okonkwo Nwuneli

Global Advocacy Organization, ONE Appoints Ndidi Okonkwo Nwuneli as New CEO


Ndidi Okonkwo Nwuneli has been appointed as the new president and CEO of ONE.

Ndidi Okonkwo Nwuneli

The Board of ONE, a non-partisan global advocacy organization, has appointed Ndidi Okonkwo Nwuleni as its new president and CEO.

Nwuneli brings over 25 years of international development experience, including deep expertise in agriculture and nutrition, social innovation, entrepreneurship, philanthropy, advocacy, and youth development in Africa.

She succeeds Gayle Smith as CEO and will resume on April 2, 2024.

Nwuneli joins ONE as the organization enters its 20th year and will lead ONE’s efforts to better connect African countries to the sources of financing they need to develop and thrive, as well as doubling down on efforts to develop policies to support their agency, build political champions and galvanize activists.

Reacting to the appointment, Nwuneli said

“I am committed to working with ONE’s dynamic team to lead the organization at this critical time in Africa’s history. This will require that we forge new local and global partnerships, galvanize catalytical and innovative financing to ensure healthy livelihoods for the most vulnerable, drive sustainable and equitable growth in Africa, and ensure transparency and accountability in the deployment of resources at every level. ONE’s cofounders, staff, and board have worked tirelessly over the past 20 years, and its mission has never been more important. I am honored to lead the organization in this next chapter of growth and impact.” 

Nwuneli was born on March 22, 1975, to a family of professors, her father, Paul Obuekwe Okonkwo, hails from Anambra State, while her mother, Rina Okonkwo, is an American. The couple met at Cornell University in 1965.


She holds a bachelor’s degree with honors from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and an M.B.A. from the Harvard Business School.

Her career began in her junior year at the University of Pennsylvania when she held a summer business analyst position with McKinsey & Company in New York. In 1995, she was offered a full-time position at McKinsey as a business analyst working out of Chicago, Illinois. She also worked for McKinsey in South Africa before returning to Nigeria in 2000 to serve as the pioneering Executive Director of the FATE Foundation.

She is the founder of LEAP Africa, a non-profit organization, and co-founder of Sahel Consulting Agriculture & Nutrition Ltd. and AACE Foods Processing & Distribution Ltd.

Nwuneli has been recognized internationally, some of which include being a Schwab fellow, a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum, a national honor by the Nigerian government, and the Harvard Business School Distinguished Alumni Award.

She was a visiting scholar at the Max Bell School of Public Policy at McGill University, a senior fellow at the Mossavar Rahmani Center for Business &Government at the Harvard Kennedy School, an Aspen Institute New Voices Fellow, and an Eisenhower Fellow.

Ndidi serves on the boards of the Rockefeller Foundation, AGRA, Godrej Consumer Products Ltd., India, Stanbic IBTC Group, the Young Global Leaders of the World Economic Forum, and the Bridgespan Group.





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