The first ever women to be Executive Secretary of the United National Economic Commission for Africa, Vera Songwe is today amongst the postulants for the position of President and CEO of the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a subsidiary of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
The Cameroonian from Bamenda in the North West Region took up the position of Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) in August 2017. She has long-standing track record of providing policy advice on development. She also has a wealth of experience in development initiatives for Africa and has demonstrated strong and clear strategic vision for the continent.
Vera Songwe is credited for the ratification of the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement by most countries including Cameroon.
Prior to holding the top job at UNECA, she was Regional Director of the International Finance Corporation, covering West and Central Africa. She also continues to serve as a non-resident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution’s Africa Growth Initiative. She is 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
Who Is Vera Songwe?
Born in 1968, Vera Songwe is an Economist and Banking executive from Cameroon who has worked for the World Bank since 1998. In 2015, she was Western and Central Africa’s Regional Director for the International Finance Corporation. She held the position till 2017 when she took up her new role as the Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) in August 2017.
In 2013, Vera Songwe was listed by Forbes as one of the “20 Young Power Women in Africa”. In 2014, the Institut Choiseul for International Politics and Geoeconomics also selected her amongst the “African leaders of tomorrow”. African Business Review described her as one of the “Top 10 Female Business Leaders in Africa. She collaborated with the Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Programme in 2015, which pledged $100 million for African start-up companies.
Vera Songwe is holder of a PhD in Mathematical Economic at the Université catholique de Louvain, in Belgium,
In her early life she attended Our Ladies of Lourdes College Mankon; a private school in the North West regional capital, Bamenda in Cameroon.
Career Vera Songwe worked at the University of Michigan in the United States of America from 1993 to 1996.
She also took a position at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, and simultaneously served as a visiting professor’s appointment at the University of Southern California. She joined the World Bank in 1998 and worked in the Poverty Reduction and Economic Management (PREM) unit that covers Morocco and Tunisia. She subsequently held several other roles in the PREM unit for East Asia and the Pacific region. By the year 2011, Vera Songwe was involved in Africa 2.0 initiative to bring young Africans together to aid in the continent’s economic development.
Executive Career Vera Songwe was operations manager for the World Bank in Cape Verde, the Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, and Mauritania between 2011 and 2015. She was appointed Regional Director of the International Finance Corporation for West and Central Africa in July 2015
Vera Songwe is co-author of the book, Single Currency for West Africa
The Race To the Presidency Of IFC
Cameroonian born Vera Songwe is on the race for the position of CEO of International Finance Corporation (IFC), a filial of the IMF and her main rival is Ivorian Politician, Thierry Tanoh
Editing, Caroline Okie Anoma