Vera Songwe Executive Secretary, UN Economic Commission for Africa

Vera Songwe

Vera Songwe

Executive Secretary, Economic Commission for Africa

Dr. Vera Songwe is an Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and is the Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa. It is the first time in the Commission’s 60-year history that a woman has held the top leadership position. Listed by Forbes in 2013 as one of the “20 Young Power Women in Africa”, Dr. Songwe was also chosen by the Institut Choiseul pour la politique internationale et la géoéconomie (France) as one of its “African leaders of tomorrow” and has been included in the “Top 10 Female Business Leaders in Africa” published by the African Business Review in 2014. Dr. Songwe was named among the “100 Most Influential Africans of 2017” in the New African Magazine. She has a long-standing track record of providing policy advice and being instrumental in the results-oriented implementation of policy in the region and has published widely on governance issues, innovative finance and fiscal policy issues. One of Dr. Songwe’s most compelling qualities is her demonstrated strategic vision for the continent.

Previous appointments include: Regional Director for West and Central Africa at the International Finance Corporation; World Bank Country Director for Senegal, Cabo Verde, Gambia, Guinea-Bissau and Mauritania; and Adviser to the Managing Director of the World Bank for the regions of Africa, Europe, and Central and South Asia.

Dr. Songwe graduated from the Université Catholique de Louvain in Belgium with a Ph.D. in mathematical economics from the Center for Operations Research and Econometrics, an M.A. in law and economics, and a Diplôme d’études approfondies in economic science and politics. Dr. Songwe holds a B.A. in economics and political science from the University of Michigan and is also a graduate of Our Lady of Lourdes College in Cameroon.