Vera Songwe becomes Executive Secretary of Economic Commission for Africa

18 Apr 2017
Financial Nigeria


The Cameroonian economist is the first female Executive Secretary of UNECA.

Vera Songwe, Executive Secretary, Economic Commission for Africa

The United Nations Secretary General, António Guterres, has appointed Cameroonian economist, Vera Songwe, as the first female Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA). Before her appointment, Songwe was at the International Finance Corporation (IFC) where she was Regional Director for Africa, covering West and Central Africa, since 2015.  

Songwe, who joined the World Bank in 1998, is also a non-resident Senior Fellow at the Washington DC-based Brookings Institute: Global Development and Africa Growth Initiative. She will replace Dr. Abdalla Hamdok, a Sudanese who was the Acting Executive Secretary of ECA since November 2016, following the departure of Dr. Carlos Lopes of Guinea-Bissau on October 31.

According to a UNECA statement released on Monday, Songwe “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.”

While at the World Bank, Songwe was Country Director for Senegal, Cape Verde, The Gambia, Guinea Bissau and Mauritania (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). In 2013, Forbes listed her among the 20 Young Power Women in Africa.

ECA's mandate is to promote the economic and social development of its member States, foster intra-regional integration, and promote international cooperation for Africa's development. The Commission's thematic areas of focus are Macroeconomic Policy, Regional Integration and Trade, Social Development, Natural Resources, Innovation and Technology, Gender, and Governance.

Other Photos/Videos