Economic Commission for Africa Executive Secretary, Carlos Lopes, is leaving the organization after four busy years at the helm of the institution tasked with promoting Africa’s economic and social development, fostering intra-regional integration and promoting international cooperation for the continent’s development.
A champion of Africa’s structural transformation through industrialization, Mr. Lopes has advocated stridently with key African players.
He transformed the ECA’s role towards becoming a Think Tank of reference with the uptake of ECA products by Member States for policy formulation rising exponentially.
Some of the issues he has stood firmly on include the loss of Africa’s billions of dollars from bad contract negotiations, lazy fiscal reforms or illicit financial flows. The ECA chief was the first to call for debt cancellation for Ebola-affected countries on the continent and led a team that demonstrated the economic impact projections on Africa were highly exaggerated and part of a negative narrative.
He also helped and advised African leaders on how to finance their economies from domestic resources.
One of his main achievements while with the ECA was his role championing the need for improved data and statistics for informed decision-making on the continent. In that regard, he repositioned the ECA’s sub-regional offices into sub-regional data centres collecting and collating data on emerging issues of relevance to Africa’s transformation, including country profiles and an African statistical flash, and the proposal for an Africa data Consensus and statistical information platform.
Under his tenure, the ECA hosted very large gatherings that included many Heads of State and leaders from private sector and academia. He was a champion of more active African stance on negotiations from trade to climate change.
Mr. Lopes said he had enjoyed working at the ECA and helping make a positive contribution to the continent’s efforts to deepen its transformation.
“I have enjoyed my time at the ECA,” he told ECA employees today. “But unfortunately all good things come to an end. I will always cherish the times that we shared together, especially working with the ECA experts in developing strategies to help the continent industrialize; fostering intra-regional integration and trade.”
A national of Guinea-Bissau, Mr. Lopes was appointed by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon as the eighth Executive Secretary of the ECA at the level of UN Under-Secretary-General in September 2012. He previously served as Executive Director of the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) in Geneva and Director of the UN System Staff College in Turin at the level of Assistant Secretary-General from March 2007 to August 2012.
Prior to that, Mr. Lopes was the UN Assistant-Secretary-General and Director for Political Affairs for Secretary-General Kofi Annan, during the period 2005 to 2007.
He will continue to work with partners, such as the African Union and others in the push for the continent’s priorities, including Agenda 2063 that he helped shape, and make a difference in the lives of its citizens on the ground, most of whom have long been thirsty for economic empowerment, stability and poverty eradication, among other things.