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Mozambique’s Antonio Pedro to Head UNECA

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Antonio Pedro

By Kestér Kenn Klomegâh

A Mozambican geologist, Mr Antonio Pedro, has been appointed as the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) with effect from Thursday, September 1, 2022.

He is taking charge of the organisation after Ms Vera Songwe announced the end of her five years of dedicated service to ECA and its member states on August 22.

“It has been a privilege to work with you and serve the whole UN system. I cannot express enough my appreciation for the support, encouragement, guidance, patience, and friendship I received throughout these years from you,” said Ms Songwe.

Under her leadership, ECA played a key role in promoting the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) at national, subregional and continental levels; advocating for adequate resources to finance Africa’s COVID-19 recovery initiatives; fostering public-private partnerships; and promoting local manufacturing to ensure sustainable economic growth and reduce growth volatility in Africa.

In a final farewell note to staff on August 31, Ms Songwe said she was “pleased to convey the Secretary-General’s decision to designate Antonio Pedro (ECA’s Deputy Executive Secretary in charge of Programme Support) as Acting Executive Secretary, beginning September 1, 2022, until further notice.” She urged staff to extend their full support to Pedro.

Previously, Pedro held the post of Deputy Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and put in charge of programme support. According to biological records, he is a specialist in mineral exploration with over thirty years of experience in development issues and management at the national, sub-regional, and continental levels.

He joined UNECA in 2001 where he has held several senior positions. Between 2001 and 2009 he was the head of Infrastructure and Natural Resources Development based in Addis Ababa, focussing on mining, water, transport, and energy development.

Amongst his achievements was spearheading the formulation of the Africa Mining Vision which was adopted by the African Union summit. He has also served as the Director for UNECA’s sub-regional offices for Eastern Africa (between 2009 and 2016) and Central Africa (between 2016 and 2021).

UNECA was established in 1958 as one of the United Nations’ five regional commissions, with a mandate to promote economic and social development, foster intra-regional integration, and promote international cooperation for Africa’s development.

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Jobs/Appointments

IFC Picks Dahlia Khalifa as Regional Director for Nigeria, Others

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Dahlia Khalifa

By Adedapo Adesanya

The International Finance Corporation (IFC) has announced the appointment of Ms Dahlia Khalifa as its Regional Director for Central Africa, Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone.

In her new role, she will drive IFC’s strategy to create a more resilient and sustainable private sector to support the development and job creation in the region.

Ms Khalifa will lead IFC’s investment and advisory teams in Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Chad, the Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Liberia, Nigeria, Sao Tome and Principe, and Sierra Leone. While these countries face challenges such as rising inflation and the effects of climate change, a young, vibrant, and entrepreneurial population presents opportunities for a more dynamic private sector.

In a statement made available to Business Post, it was revealed that the new regional head would be based in Lagos, Nigeria.

Speaking on her appointment, Mr Sérgio Pimenta, IFC Vice President for Africa, said, “I look forward to working with Dahlia and her team to deliver on new opportunities in the years to come, such as empowering more of the region’s entrepreneurs.”

On her part, the appointee said, “We are stepping up our work to empower the private sector and to work jointly with government and development partners to deliver greener, more inclusive, and sustainable growth in the region. I  commit to further strengthening IFC’s work so that together we can build the strong foundations for private and public sector partnerships.”

Ms Khalifa, an Egyptian and American national, was most recently the Senior Manager for IFC’s Creating Markets Advisory program in the Middle East, Central Asia, Türkiye, Pakistan, and Afghanistan region, where she and her team supported the removal of barriers to investment to strengthen the private sector and boost economic development.

Before joining the World Bank Group, she founded and managed financial services companies providing brokerage, corporate finance, private equity investing, and management consulting services in the Middle East and Africa.

As of September 30, IFC had an investment and advisory portfolio in Central Africa and Nigeria of more than $2.53 billion across financial services, infrastructure, and agribusiness and is continuing to grow its portfolio in health, manufacturing, and value chain development.

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Prudential Appoints Emmanuel Mokobi Aryee as CEO

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Emmanuel Mokobi Aryee

By Adedapo Adesanya 

Prudential Plc has announced the appointment of Mr Emmanuel Mokobi Aryee as the new Chief Executive Officer for Africa to oversee the operations of Prudential in its eight African markets.

The appointment seeks to centralise Prudential’s operations in Africa as well as strengthen and grow the business in markets where it currently operates.

In a statement, Mr Solmaz Altin, the Prudential Managing Director, Strategic Business Group, said he was pleased with Mr Aryee’s new role, noting that it will take effect on January 1, 2023.

“Africa is a strategic growth driver for our Group; building the talent and capacity to drive the next level of business growth is key and will foster greater efficiency and effective decision-making to help us deliver on our purpose of helping people in Africa get the most out of life by making healthcare and financial security more accessible and affordable,” Mr Solmaz added.

Currently, Mr Aryee is the Regional Chief Executive Officer for two regions: East & Central and West & Southern Africa.

The appointee is a well-known industry veteran with more than 29 years of experience in commercial leadership in Africa. His past experience includes turning around businesses on the African continent, moving Prudential to the number one market position in some of our countries, and gaining recognition as an innovative player. Over the years, he has nurtured employees and created room for talent to thrive.

Data from the Swiss Re Institute ranks the African continent as the second-fastest growing insurance market in the world after Latin America, with a total value of $68 billion. Yet, Africa has a large uninsured population, as reflected in the low insurance penetration levels currently at 2.8 per cent. This points to significant headroom for the expansion of the underwriting market, also given the population is expected to double to 2 billion by 2050.

To this end, Prudential noted that as a purely Asia and Africa-focused business, “we are investing in people and technology to build the capacity to serve more customers on the continent.”

Prudential serves over 1.7 million customers in Africa through a distribution network of more than 13,000 agents and 600 bank branches. After entering Ghana in 2013, the underwriter is now present in eight countries – Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Kenya, Togo, Uganda, Zambia and Nigeria.

“We are confident that the Africa business will continue to thrive under the stewardship of Mokobi,” the company noted.

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Omar Farouk Reelected APPO Secretary General 

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Omar Farouk

By Adedapo Adesanya

The African Petroleum Producers Organisation (APPO) has reappointed Mr Omar Farouk Ibrahim as its Secretary General during the APPO Ministerial Council Session held in Luanda, Angola.

It has been considered a move that will usher in a new era of growth across the continent’s hydrocarbon industry.

With Mr Farouk bullish around the development and exploitation of Africa’s vast, untapped oil and gas resources to address growing energy poverty and drive socioeconomic developments since his first appointment as the Secretary General of APPO in January 2020, his reappointment has been touted as good news for the African continent as energy-producing countries seek reliable pan-African institutions and partners such as the APPO in maximizing oil and gas developments for energy security.

Under the leadership of Mr Farouk, the APPO has led a series of positive developments across the continent’s entire oil and gas value chain.

With energy transition-related policies disturbing the flow of investments to boost African oil and gas developments, APPO, under the leadership of Mr Farouk, has remained a reliable solution, with the institution continuing to provide much-needed funding through the Africa Energy Investment Corporation.

And now, with Africa seeking to maximize the use of local financial solutions to make energy poverty history, APPO, in partnership with the Africa Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) is creating the African Energy Transition Bank to address financing challenges of oil and gas projects in partnership with the private sector.

In addition, with the continent expanding its oil and gas reserves to address declines in production due to natural diminishes in legacy projects, Mr Farouk has led APPO member countries, including the Democratic Republic of Congo, Algeria and Angola, in launching a series of licensing rounds aimed at attracting more upstream companies and investments.

Furthermore, whilst limitations in regional oil and gas infrastructure have restrained energy trading by and amongst African-producing countries and APPO members, the group, under his leadership, has vowed to change this with the organization strongly supporting the development of massive projects such as the Central African Pipeline Construction Project and the Trans-Saharan Gas Pipeline.

Moreover, with Africa pushing ahead the local content agenda as the oil and gas industry expands, APPO is spearheading various initiatives aimed at maximizing skills development and knowledge and expertise sharing between African National oil and gas companies as well as Energy and Hydrocarbon Ministries.

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