Cameroonian economist takes office as UNECA Executive Secretary
The new Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), Vera Songwe, on Thursday officially took office and is set to meet with Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, among other dignitaries in Addis Ababa.
According to a statement circulated by UNECA in Addis Ababa, the Cameroonian economist and banking executive is the first woman to ever serve in the office.
Ms. Songwe, who arrived in Addis Ababa Wednesday night, was appointed earlier this year by United Nations Secretary General António Guterres, and takes over from former Executive Secretary Carlos Lopes.
Ms. Songwe will also meet with Foreign Minister Workneh Gebeyehu and other high-level officials, including the Ambassador of Cameroon, Jacques Alfred Ndoumbe-Eboule, who is also the dean of the diplomatic corps in Ethiopia.
Ms. Songwe has been working as the International Finance Corporation’s regional director for Africa covering West and Central Africa since 2015. She was also a non-resident Senior Fellow at The Brookings Institute: Global Development and Africa Growth Initiative (since 2011).
She brings to the position a longstanding track record of policy advice and results-oriented implementation in the region, coupled with a strong strategic vision for the region.
Ms. Songwe was previously Country Director for Senegal, Cape Verde, The Gambia, Guinea Bissau and Mauritania at the World Bank (2012-2015), Adviser to the Managing Director of the World Bank for Africa, Europe and Central Asia and South Asia Regions (2008-2011) and Lead Country Sector Coordinator (2005-2008).
On Friday, she will meet Ethiopia’s Finance and Economic Cooperation Minister, Abraham Tekeste, and the African Union Deputy Chairperson Thomas Kwasi Quartey, among other dignitaries.