Gambian UN development official takes over world body's Africa think-tank

4 October 2005
Abdoulie Janneh

Abdoulie Janneh, the new Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) has taken up his appointment leading the continent's major development think-tank in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, after a 26-year career at the UN Development Programme (UNDP).

Mr. Janneh, who began his tenure yesterday, said in Addis Ababa on Friday that he was looking forward to working with a team that had "done great things for Africa over the past 10 years" under the leadership of outgoing Executive Secretary, K.Y. Amoako.

Praising Mr. Amoako's achievements, Mr. Janneh added: "I want to give him the assurance that we will continue to follow his commitment, hard work, and dedication to African priorities, as defined by Africans and their institutions, particularly the [African Union] AU, to really make sure that this decade belongs to Africa."

Mr. Janneh's career in UNDP culminated in his position as Director of the Regional Bureau for Africa from June 2000, managing the agency's largest regional bureau and covering 45 countries in sub-Saharan Africa with over 1,500 staff members.

As a UN Assistant Secretary-General and a senior UNDP manager, Mr. Janneh has been particularly interested in the institutional transformation of the continent-wide, Addis Ababa-based AU and the successful implementation of the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) as critical initiatives for the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), a set of anti-poverty targets to be reached by 2015.

With this in mind, he has long supported core elements of ECA's work programme, including the promotion of good governance, economic reform, the fight against HIV/AIDS, fair trade, crisis prevention and poverty eradication.

Mr. Janneh joined UNDP in 1979 as a development planner from the Government of his home country, Gambia. He holds an MA in Urban and Regional Planning Studies from the University of Nottingham, England, and an undergraduate degree from Fourah Bay College, Sierra Leone.


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