Dr. Vera Songwe

Dr. Vera Songwe is the UN under-secretary general and ninth executive secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), becoming the first woman to lead the institution in its 60-year history.  

As Executive Secretary, Songwe’s reforms, focusing on “ideas for a prosperous Africa”, have brought to the fore critical issues of macroeconomic stability, development finance, private sector growth, poverty and inequality, the digital transformation, trade and competitiveness. 

Recently listed as one of Africa’s 50 most powerful women by Forbes,  named as one of the ‘100 Most Influential Africans’ by Jeune Afrique in 2019, ‘100 Most Influential Africans’ by New African Magazine in 2017 and one of the ’25 African to watch’ by the FT in 2015, Songwe is acknowledged for her long-standing track record of providing policy advice and her wealth of experience in delivering development results for Africa. She has written extensively on development and economic issues including on debt, infrastructure development, fiscal and governance issues. She is well published and contributes to the development debate across a broad spectrum of platforms including in the Financial Times. 

Prior to ECA, she held a number of senior leadership roles with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and World Bank.