Dr. Assefa Bequele, a Pan-Africanist of Ethiopian origin, is an economist by training and an internationally recognised authority on child rights and wellbeing. His academic and professional contributions cover a wide range of areas including economic development, employment, poverty, governance and child wellbeing. He has had a long and distinguished career involving university teaching (in Ethiopia and USA), many years of service in the United Nations system, institution building, and international advocacy work on child wellbeing.
He is the author of numerous global and African reports, books and articles on economic development and child wellbeing. His path-breaking work on children at the international level includes the design and development of the ILO’s International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour (IPEC), the world’s premier technical programme on child labour, and the development of the now nearly-universally ratified international Convention on the Worst Forms of Child Labour.
He is the founder and first Executive Director of The African Child Policy Forum (ACPF), a leading independent Pan-African policy research and advocacy centre, and the initiator of an Africa-wide movement for the wellbeing of children. He is also the architect of The African Report on Child Wellbeing, the leading independent report on children in Africa. Dr Bequele continues to serve as expert or adviser to international commissions, non-governmental organisations and regional bodies. He was for example member of the AU’s African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child and the Youth Advisory Council of MasterCard Foundation. He continues his advocacy and programmatic work through his engagement in various international and regional bodies including as board member of Plan International and the African Institute for Human Rights and Development (IHRDA) and as director of the Board of Enat Bank, the first and only commercial bank initiated and led by women in Ethiopia. He is a Fellow of the Ethiopian Academy of Sciences.