Mogadishu (Onkod Radio) — Ms. Vera Songwe has stepped down after five years of dedicated service to ECA and its Member States. Announcing her decision to step down during a town hall meeting on 22 August, Ms. Songwe thanked ECA staff for their team spirit and support during her tenure.
“It has been a privilege to work with you and serve the whole UN system. I cannot express enough my appreciation for the support, encouragement, guidance, patience, and friendship I received throughout these years from you,” said Ms. Songwe.
Under her leadership, ECA played a key role in promoting the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) at national, subregional and continental levels; advocating for adequate resources to finance Africa’s COVID-19 recovery initiatives; fostering public-private partnerships; and promoting local manufacturing to ensure sustainable economic growth and reduce growth volatility in Africa.
In a final farewell note to staff on 31 August, Ms. Songwe said she was “pleased to convey the Secretary-General’s decision to designate Antonio Pedro (ECA’s Deputy Executive Secretary in charge of Programme Support) as Acting Executive Secretary, beginning 1 September 2022, until further notice.” She urged staff to extend their full support to Pedro.
Previously, Pedro held the post of Deputy Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and put in charge of programme support. According to biological records, he is a specialist in mineral exploration with over thirty years of experience in development issues and management at the national, sub-regional, and continental levels.
He joined UNECA in 2001 where he has held several senior positions. Between 2001 and 2009 he was the head of Infrastructure and Natural Resources Development based in Addis Ababa, focussing on mining, water, transport, and energy development.
Amongst his achievements were spearheading the formulation of the Africa Mining Vision which was adopted by the African Union summit. He has also served as the Director for UNECA’s sub-regional offices for Eastern Africa (between 2009 and 2016) and Central Africa (between 2016 and 2021).
UNECA was established in 1958 as one of the United Nations’ five regional commissions, with a mandate to promote economic and social development, foster intra-regional integration, and promote international cooperation for Africa’s development.