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Kandeh Yumkella

Kandeh K. Yumkella
Photo by Mikhail Evstafiev
United Nations - Sustainable Energy for All
Assumed office
July 2013
Preceded by None
Succeeded by None
Personal details
Born (1959-07-05) 5 July 1959
Kychom, Kambia District, Sierra Leone
Occupation politician, economist, UN executive

Kandeh K. Yumkella (born July 5, 1959) is United Nations Under-Secretary-General and the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Sustainable Energy for All and CEO of the Sustainable Energy for All Initiative. He is also the Chairman of United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO).


  • Education 1
  • Career 2
  • Tenure at UNIDO 3
  • UN-Energy 4
  • Awards and honours 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7



  • 1994 to 1995 – Minister for Trade, Industry and State Enterprises of Sierra Leone.
  • 1996 Special – Advisor to UNIDO Director-General, Mauricio de Maria y Campos
  • 1996 to 2000 – Director of the Africa and Least Developed Countries Regional Bureau, UNIDO
  • 2000 to 2003 – UNIDO Representative and Director of the Regional Industrial Development Centre, Nigeria
  • 2003 to 2005 – Senior Advisor to UNIDO Director-General, Carlos Alfredo Magariños
  • 2005 to 2013 – Director General of UNIDO

Tenure at UNIDO

Yumkella has worked in different high-level policy positions in UNIDO, including as Special Adviser to two previous Directors-General and as Representative and Director of the first UNIDO Regional Office in Nigeria [1].

In December 2005, Yumkella was appointed as Director-General of UNIDO, and in December 2009 he was reconfirmed for a second term in office.


In June 2009, Yumkella was appointed by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to chair a new Advisory Group on Energy and Climate Change. The members of the Group, comprising international experts, industry leaders and United Nations system representatives, advise on energy issues critical to the new global climate change deal and beyond.

Yumkella is the Chairman of UN-Energy, a United Nations system coordination body dealing with energy-related issues.

He is also a member of the China Council of International Cooperation on Environment and Development (CCICED) which consists of senior Chinese officials and international experts and advises top Chinese Government officials on environment and development.

Kandeh Yumkella is a prominent public speaker, who addresses global issues, including poverty reduction, climate change [2], the Millennium Development Goals, as well those related to Africa [3] and the developing world [4] in general, green industry and renewable energy [5].

Dr. Yumkella's opinion pieces have appeared in major international newspapers, including The New York Times, the International Herald Tribune [6], and The Guardian.

He has also appeared on several international broadcast networks, including CNN's Amanpour programme, BBC, Sky News and CNBC.

Awards and honours

  • Honorary Doctorate University of Madras, India
  • 2008 Champion of Youth Award, 4th World Youth Congress in Quebec City, Canada
  • Madhuri and Jagdish N. Sheth International Alumni Award for Exceptional Achievement, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC)
  • The Prix de la Fondation of the Crans Montana Forum
  • Honorary Distinguished Visiting Professor, Shanghai Institute of Foreign Trade
  • Lifetime Achievement Award, Green White & Blue Commission[1]
  • Nayudamma Award for outstanding contributions to the energy sector, 13th November 2014[2]


  1. ^ "The Green, White & Blue Commission (GWB) to honor Kandeh Yumkella with the 2013 Lifetime Achievement Award". 17 April 2013. Retrieved 5 May 2013. 
  2. ^

External links

  • Yumkella's Bio on the UNIDO official website
  • UNIDO official site
  • Kandeh K. Yumkella interviewed by BBC's Andrew Marr
  • Podcast of Yumkella on the Amanpour Programme
  • UNIDO video - Greening Industry and Renewable energy
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