Press Releases

    3 January 2006

    Biographical Note

    Secretary-General Appoints Gilbert Fossoun Houngbo of Togo as Director of UN Development Programme's Bureau for Africa

    NEW YORK, 30 December (UN Headquarters) -- United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan has appointed Gilbert Fossoun Houngbo of Togo as Assistant Secretary-General, Assistant Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Director of UNDP's Regional Bureau for Africa.

    Mr. Houngbo, who has been serving as UNDP's Chief of Staff in New York since 2003, will lead 1,500 UNDP staff covering the 45 countries of sub-Saharan Africa.  He succeeds Abdoulie Janneh of the Gambia, who in 2006 will start his new job as Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) in Addis Ababa.  Mr. Janneh had been Director of the UNDP Africa Regional Bureau since 2000.

    Prior to his appointment as Chief of Staff, Mr. Houngbo served on UNDP's Strategic Management Team and as the organization's Director of Finance and Administration.  Mr. Houngbo also has extensive private sector experience, having worked at Price Waterhouse Canada, where he specialized in results-focused management of governmental and parastatal entities, as well as medium- and large-scale private companies, in both North America and Africa.  He holds a Maîtrise en Gestion d'Entreprises from the Université de Lomé (Togo), a B.A and DESS (Diplôme d'Etudes Supérieures Specialisées) in Accounting and Finance.  He is a member of the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants.

    "Addressing the development challenges facing Africa is our single most critical task", said UNDP Administrator Kemal Dervis, announcing the appointment.

    "Gilbert Houngbo combines a lucid focus on results, deep personal integrity and respect for every individual with an abiding commitment and understanding of our mission.  With these and other impressive traits, he will lead UNDP's Regional Bureau for Africa as it works with our partners to trigger growth, trade and human development that will give the African people the power over their lives and the prosperity they deserve."

    The Regional Bureau for Africa is the largest of UNDP's five regional programmes, accounting for nearly half of all UNDP core programme funding.  The Africa Bureau draws on UNDP's global knowledge network to provide capacity development and policy support in areas ranging from good governance and peacebuilding to eradicating extreme poverty and fighting HIV/AIDS, in support of the priorities set up by Africa's Governments.  Building on commitments by African leaders to meet common political and development challenges, the Bureau energetically supports the African Union and the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD), as well as efforts by African countries to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.

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