The outstanding and eloquent outgoing UNIDO Director-General, Sierra Leonean-born Kandeh Yumkella, has exceeded all expectations as he wraps-up his final term at the helm of the all-important UN organisation. He has been hailed as the most successful and productive UNIDO boss ever, after remarkable achievements that has seen the organisation achieve unprecedented goals in reducing poverty and enhancing development strategies across the world with emphasis on poverty-reduction initiatives, working with under-developed countries.
Yumkella started as Special Adviser to two previous Directors-General and as Representative and Director of the first UNIDO Regional Office in the West African nation of Nigeria. He was appointed Director-General of UNIDO in 2005, and in December 2009 he was reconfirmed for a second term in office. Also, in 2009, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appointed Kandeh Yumlkella as chair of a new Advisory Group on Energy and Climate Change, to advise on energy issues critical to the new global climate change deal and beyond. As the new Special Representative of the Secretary General Ban Ki-moon (SRSG) and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL), Yumkella brings to his office a remarkable administrative and academic achievement, with unique experience in UN and global issues; and many analysts now see him as the next UN Secretary-General when the current occupant of that position, Ban Ki-Moon, leaves office after his final term ends.
He has the experience and commands the respect of his UN colleagues and major world leaders, who have often called on his expertise on global development issues. He is seen as a safe pair of hands whose primary focus is getting the job done, and a result-oriented performer who inspires those around him to achieve set goals and objectives.
Yumkella earned a B.Sc. degree in general agriculture at Njala University College, Sierra Leone, and continued his education in agricultural economics in the United States, earning a M.Sc. degree at Cornell University and a Ph.D. at the University of Illinois. He has also served as Trade Minister in his home country Sierra Leone.
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