Mr. Kandeh K. Yumkella is the Director-General of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO). With over 20 years experience in international development cooperation, he has provided leadership for various initiatives and promoted increased international cooperation in the area of sustainable industrial development, trade capacity-building, renewable energy and energy efficiency, as well as climate change mitigation and adaptation. In addition, Mr. Yumkella has served in various other capacities within the United Nations system including as Chair of UN-Energy, a system-wide coordination body of the United Nations dealing with energy-related issues and as Chair of the Secretary-General’s Advisory Group on Energy and Climate Change (AGECC). More recently he was appointed as Co-Chair of the High-level Group on Sustainable Energy for All and he also serves as a member of the Rio+20 Principals Group as well as the United Nations Development Group (UNDG).
Mr. Yumkella has also authored and co-authored several publications. In December 2005 Mr. Yumkella was appointed as Director-General of UNIDO, having previously worked in various high-level policy positions in UNIDO, including as Special Adviser to two previous Directors-General and as Director of the Africa and Least Developed Countries Regional Bureau as well as Representative and Director of the first UNIDO Regional Office in Nigeria. He was re-appointed as Director-General of UNIDO for a second four-year term in December 2009.
Prior to working for UNIDO, he was the Minister for Trade, Industry and State Enterprises of the Republic of Sierra Leone from 1994-1995. Between 1987 and 1996, while furthering his studies, he held various academic positions at Michigan State University and the University of Illinois.
“As an Organization we must always be responsive to changing needs and changing times. Development must address both human needs and economic growth. We must reject the strict dogma of theories and models and accept that market failure, and human frailty, require flexibility and a certain degree of pragmatism.”
“The laissez-faire era has left its marks, both on national and multilateral levels. The rationale for maintaining international institutions in the economic development and productive spheres was sometimes questioned in the past. But without international cooperation through such means, the danger of economic upheaval and uncertainty is very real – for the global economy, and above all for developing countries.”
“Looking ahead, UNIDO should stand for, and act on, what it was designed for – inclusive, equitable and sustainable industrial development. No other international institution is better placed – and better equipped – to do so.”
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