AU endorses Ethiopia’s Arkebe Oqubay as Africa’s candidate for UNIDO Director-General

Minister and Adviser to the Prime Minister of Ethiopia Dr Arkebe Oqubay during the World Policy Conference/ WPC

The African Union has endorsed Ethiopia’s Dr Arkebe Oqubay as Africa’s sole candidate for the post of Director-General of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization.

The election for the post is set for November this year as Director General LI Yong of China completes his second four-year term.

The 38th Ordinary Session of the Executive Council of the African Union held on February 3 and 4 , 2021 unanimously endorsed Oqubay’s candidature, AU said in a statement on March 5.

“Dr. Arkebe has spent more than thirty years at the forefront of implementing inclusive and sustainable industrial development policies and as a champion of transformational economic development in Africa,” AU said in the statement.

“African leaders emphasized the importance of UNIDO being led by a competent Director-General, and voiced their confidence in the world-class calibre of Dr. Oqubay’s candidature including his formidable leadership qualities to ensure equitable and sustainable global industrialization,” it added.

Dr Oqubay, 63, is currently a senior minister and special adviser to Ethiopia’s PM Abiy Ahmed, having taken the position in 2018.

He is credited for his bold reforms and played a key role in Ethiopia’s economic transformation at different levels of government. He also served as the Mayor of Addis Ababa between 2003-2005.

UNIDO is a specialized agency of the United Nations formed in November 1966 and assists countries in economic and industrial development. It is headquartered at the UN Office in Vienna, Austria, with a permanent presence in over 60 countries.

Dr Oqubay has promised to revitalize the role of UNIDO against the backdrop of the changing global dynamics, among them Covid-19 pandemic.

“The situation we will be facing in the wake of the pandemic means that there is even greater need for concerted global action that puts inclusive and sustainable development, job creation, the enhancement of productive capacities to attain economic transformation, and industrialization at its core. That is why the incoming Director General needs to formulate a new vision for the Decade of Action,” Oqubay says in his vision statement.

Germany has nominated Development Minister Gerd Müller as its candidate for the post.

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