Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, Carlos Lopes, is stepping down after four years at the helm of the institution; he was tasked with promoting Africa’seconomic and social development, fostering intra-regional integration and promoting international cooperation for the continent’s development. In a statement sent to Addis Standard, the UNECA praised Lopes for being a champion of Africa’s structural transformation through industrialization and having transformed the institution’s role towards becoming a Think Tank of referencewith the uptake of ECA products by member States for policy formulation
In his tenure, Lopes, is known to have a strong standing on issues that 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.
One of his main achievements was his role championing the need for improved data and statistics for informed decision-making on the continent, maintained the statement. In that regard, he repositioned the ECA’s sub-regional offices into sub-regional data centers 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.
“I have enjoyed my time at the ECA,” Lopes told ECA employees announcing his departure. “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,Lopes was appointed by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon as the eighth Executive Secretary of the ECA at the level ofUN 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 inTurin at the level of Assistant Secretary-General from March 2007 to August 2012.