Abdoulie Janneh


Mr. Abdoulie Janneh, a Gambian National, is a former United Nations Under-Secretary General and Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), as part of the TrustAfrica board. Mr. Janneh is a life-long committed champion working to eradicate poverty and strengthening institutions on the continent. 

Mr.  Janneh successfully completed a seven-year tenure (2005-2012) at the helm of the United Nations  Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), an institution with the dual role of being the regional arm of the United Nations in Africa as well as a key Pan-African Institution. During his leadership of the UNECA, Mr. Janneh took steps to strategically re-position the organization to better support Africa’s development agenda.   

Before joining UNECA, Mr. Janneh served as UN Assistant Secretary-General and UNDP Regional Director for Africa from June 2000 to October 2005. In that capacity, he managed United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) largest Regional Bureau, covering 44 countries in sub-Saharan Africa with a complement of over 1,500 staff.  Prior to that, he held a number of senior positions in UNDP and its affiliated funds, including Resident Representative posts in various countries, as well as Deputy Executive Secretary of the United Nations Capital Development Fund (1990-1993). 

Mr. Janneh has dedicated his life to public service. Prior to his joining ECA, Mr. Janneh for nearly 30 years in the United Nations Development Programme throughout Africa working to eradicate poverty, fighting against HIV/AIDS while seeking to bring about economic reform and good governance.  

He has sought as well to bolster Africa’s institutions including the African Union and the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD).  

In his various senior roles, Mr. Janneh has been striving to enhance partnership-building for Africa, as a necessary vehicle to mobilize support and build inclusiveness for shared development objectives.  In this regard, he has been able to cultivate strong partnerships at the highest levels between ECA and governments, the private sector, civil society, as well as national, regional and international organizations. He also serves on the Boards/ Advisory Panels of a number of organizations involved in Africa’s development.   Currently, he is a member of the African Forum of Former Heads of State and Government , the Africa Governance Institute (AGI) (Chairman of the Board), the International Lawyers for Africa (ILFA), the Coalition for Dialogue in Africa (CODA), the AO Alliance Foundation, ASCENT (Africa Sustainability Centre) and Global Integrity. 

He has delivered over the years a number of keynote addresses, policy statements and written articles on issues germane to Africa’s development. He is also the author of the book ‘Integrating Africa’. 

Mr. Janneh is the recipient of various honors and awards including for example, the ‘Distinguished Africa Economic Icon of the Year Award 2011’, Commander of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Niger, the Femmes Africa Solidarité Leadership in Peace Building Recognition and an honorary doctorate degree from the Lead City University (LCU), Ibadan ,Nigeria. 

Since November 2012, Mr. Janneh has been serving as Executive Director/Board Member at the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, and he is based in Dakar, Senegal. 

Abdoulie Janneh holds an MA in Urban and Regional Planning Studies from the University of Nottingham in England. He is also graduate in Engineering Science, Fourah Bay College, Sierra Leone; and studied Project Planning and Appraisal at University of Bradford, UK. 

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