Claver Gatete of Rwanda is appointed new ECA Executive Secretary

Claver Gatete

The Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) has a new Executive Secretary. The United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres named Claver Gatete of Rwanda as the next Executive Secretary last Friday October 6, 2023.

Mr. Gatete who is currently the Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Rwanda to the United Nations in New York, is an economist. In his career, he has served in senior government positions, notably as Minister of Infrastructure (2018-2022) and Minister of Finance and Economic Planning (2013-2018) of Rwanda.

He has also served as Governor (2011-2013) and Deputy Governor (2009-2011) of the National Bank of Rwanda, and Secretary General and Secretary to the Treasury at the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning in Rwanda (2003-2005). He was Director-General for Economic and Social Affairs in the Office of the President of Rwanda (2000-2003), during which time, he served as the President’s Representative to the New Partnership for Africa’s Development and Coordinator of the National African Peer Review Mechanism. 

Mr. Gatete began his diplomatic career in 2005 and was based in London until 2009 as Rwanda’s Ambassador to the United Kingdom, Ireland and Iceland. Prior to this, he served as National Economist of the United Nations Development Programme in Kigali (1998-2000) and Economist of Agriculture and Agri-Food and of Statistics Canada, in Ottawa, Canada (1993-1997).

Mr. Gatete holds a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree in agricultural economics from the University of British Columbia in Canada. He is fluent in English with working knowledge of French.

He takes over as the substantive Executive Secretary after Ms Vera Songwe of Cameroon, the first woman to occupy the position stepped down effective September 1, 2022 after five years in office.

Since Ms Songwe left the position, the Deputy Executive Secretary, Programme Support, Antonio M. A. Pedro of Mozambique has been acting as Executive Secretary. According to Guteres, he will continue to serve in that position until Mr. Gatete assumes his functions.

The following have served as Executive Secretaries of the ECA; the first was Mekki Abbas of Sudan, who served for two years, from 1959 to 1961. There was the Ghanaian, Robert Gardiner who served for 14 years, from 1961 to 1975. Prof. Adebayo Adedeji of Nigeria served for 16 years from 1975 to 1991, and then there was Issa Ben Yacine Diallo of Guinea-Conakry, who served for only a year from 1991 to 1992. The next after Diallo was Layashi Yaker from Algeria, who served for three years from 1992 to 1995. Then another Ghanaian, Kingsley Y. Amoako took charge of the ECA and served for 10 years from 1995 to 2005. Lopes, took over from the Gambian, Abdoulie Janneh, who was in office for seven years from 2005 to 2012.

By Emmanuel K Dogbevi
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