Dr. Kandeh Yumkella

Dr. Kandeh Yumkella is a former United Nations Under-Secretary-General (USG) and chair of UN-Energy (2008-2015). A distinguished development economist and an expert in agricultural economics with over 25 years of international experience, he brought a renewed and vital focus to global energy issues and led the coordination of the United Nations response to energy issues. As Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Sustainable Energy for All, Dr. Yumkella was the founding Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Vienna-based initiative on Sustainable Energy for All (SE4All). In this role, he mobilized global action towards a sustainable energy future. His global leadership was responsible for the planning and implementation of the initiative as well as engaging with the leadership of relevant stakeholders in government, businesses, academia and civil society at the highest level to advocate for and promote sustainable energy for all. Prior to his appointment as Special Representative and Chief Executive, Mr. Yumkella was appointed Co-Chair of the High-level Group on Sustainable Energy for All by United Nations Secretary General in recognition of his leadership and passion for energy and environment-related causes following a decision by the United Nations General Assembly to designate 2012 as the International Year for Sustainable Energy for All. In this position, he was instrumental in guiding the initiative and in underscoring the need for universal access to energy, increased energy efficiency and enhanced deployment of renewable sources of energy. Previously, Dr. Yumkella served as Director-General of United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) for two four-year terms (2005-2013). He was the first from Sub-Saharan Africa to have been appointed to the position having worked in various high-level policy positions in the organization, including as Special Adviser to two previous Directors-General and as Director of the Africa and Least Developed Countries Regional Bureau as well as Representative and Director of the first UNIDO Regional Office in Nigeria. Under his leadership, UNIDO was at the forefront in providing solutions to many of the challenges the global community faces today: poverty, jobs, wealth creation and climate change. UNIDO also experienced an unprecedented level of growth in its programmes and has maintained a role as the largest provider of trade-related technical assistance to developing countries in the United Nations system. This assistance has enabled many developing countries to produce and export goods meeting international standards. Between 1987 and 1996, Dr. Yumkella has extensive research and teaching experience as a former assistant professor in agribusiness management and international agricultural development and trade having held academic positions at Michigan State University and the University of Illinois. He has published various articles, book chapters, staff working papers and policy briefs on crucial development issues related to economics, the international commodity trade, structural transformation in African agricultural and industrial sectors, as well as rural development, poverty alleviation, and environmental sustainability. A member of pre-eminent global organizations, he is the recipient of numerous international awards. Dr. Yumkella is a former Minister for Trade, Industry and State Enterprises in Sierra Leone and holds a BSc in General Agriculture from Njala University College, Sierra Leone; MSc in Agricultural Economics (Cornell University) and a PhD in Agricultural Economics, University of Illinois.