Vera Songwe

United Nations High Level Climate Panel - Co-Chair

Vera Songwe is the Co-Chair of the United Nations High Level Climate Panel. She previously served as the United Nations Under-Secretary-General and the 9th serving Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), Africa’s premier thought leadership institution focused on generating knowledge and applying policy research in support of accelerated economic diversification and structural transformation. Following her appointment, she became the first woman to lead the institution in the organisation’s 60-year history and the highest-ranking United Nations regional official.

She is acknowledged for her long-standing track record of providing policy advice on development and her wealth of experience in delivering development results for Africa. In March 2020, she was listed as one of ‘Africa’s 50 Most Powerful Women’ by Forbes and named one of the ‘100 Most Influential Africans’ by Jeune Afrique in 2019. In 2017 she was also listed as amongst the ‘100 Most Influential Africans’ by New African Magazine and as one of the “20 Young Power Women in Africa”.

Before joining the ECA, Songwe was the Regional Director of the International Finance Corporation, covering West and Central Africa.