The new Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), Vera Songwe, officially took office yesterday, the Commission said.
Songwe, who arrived in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa Wednesday night, was appointed earlier this year by the UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, and takes over from former executive secretary, Carlos Lopes.
The Cameroonian economist and banking executive is the first woman to ever serve the post.
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, noted the statement.
Songwe was previously country director for The Gambia, Senegal, Cape Verde, 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).
This morning, she is expected to meet Ethiopia’s Finance and Economic Cooperation Minister, Abraham Tekeste, and the AU Commission Deputy Chairperson, Thomas Kwasi Quartey, among other dignitaries.