The Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), Carlos Lopes, is leaving the organization after four 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.
According to sources The Reporter talked to, Lopez handed his letter of resignation citing personal reasons recently. He, however, did not give details as to what his personal reason was.
In a statement ECA Communications Department sent to The Reporter, the organization said: “a champion of Africa’s structural transformation through industrialization, Lopes has advocated [the matter] stridently with key African players”.
The statement further said that Lopez has transformed 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 was credited with were his firm stance on the loss of Africa’s billions of dollars from bad contract negotiations, lazy fiscal reforms or illicit financial flows.
He was also praised for his determination to be 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 and how negative narratives regarding the epidemic has dominated the crisis.
One of his main achievements while at the helm of UNECA was his role in 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 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.
Lopes said that 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 on Wednesday at his farewell party. “But, unfortunately all good things [must] come to an end. I will always cherish the times that we shared together, especially working with the ECA’s 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 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, Italy at the level of Assistant Secretary-General from March 2007 to August 2012.
Prior to that, Lopes was the UN Assistant-Secretary-General and Director for Political Affairs for Secretary-General Kofi Annan, during the period 2005 to 2007.