Vera Songwe took up her role as the Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) in 2017 at the level of Under Secretary-General. She has a long-standing track record of providing policy advice on development and a wealth of experience in delivering development results for Africa, as well as a demonstrated strong and clear strategic vision for the continent.
Prior to joining the ECA, she served as Regional Director of the International Finance Corporation, covering West and Central Africa. In addition, she continues to serve as a non-resident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution’s Africa Growth Initiative. She is also a member of the African Union institutional reform team under the direction of the President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame, and a board member of the African Leadership Network and the Mo Ibrahim Foundation.
Previously, she was Country Director for the World Bank, covering Cape Verde, the Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Mauritania and Senegal. She was also Adviser to the Managing Director of the World Bank for Africa, Europe and Central and South Asia, and a lead Country Sector Coordinator for the organization. Earlier, she served as the World Bank’s Senior Economist in the Philippines. Prior to joining the World Bank, she was a Visiting Researcher at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minnesota and at the University of Southern California.
She holds a PhD in Mathematical Economics from the Center for Operations Research and Econometrics, a Master of Arts in Law and Economics, and a Diplôme d’études approfondies in Economic Science and Politics from the Université Catholique de Louvain, Belgium. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics and Political Science from the University of Michigan and is a graduate of Our Lady of Lourdes College in Cameroon. Ms. Songwe has published widely on development and economic issues.