Vera Songwe

Vera Songwe

Vera Songwe is a nonresident senior fellow in the Africa Growth Initiative at the Brookings Institution. She is currently Chair of the Board of the Liquidity and Sustainability Facility. She is also a Co-Chair of the Food System Economics Commission, an independent interdisciplinary academic commission that equips political and economic decisionmakers with tools and evidence to shift food and land use systems. Before that, she was an Under-Secretary-General at the United Nations and Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa.

Previously, Songwe was Regional Director Africa covering West and Central Africa for the International Finance Corporation, and Country Director for Senegal, Cape Verde, The Gambia, Guinea Bissau, and Mauritania at the World Bank. Her main areas of interest are fiscal policy, innovative financing mechanisms for development, agriculture, energy and economic governance. She is a member of the African Leadership Network.

Prior to becoming Director, she was a Lead Economist at the World Bank and the Advisor to the Managing Director who oversaw the World Bank Operations in the Africa, Europe and Central Asia and South Asia regions, as well as Human Resources, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.

She is a member of the World Bank Group team that recently raised a historic US$49.3 billion dollars in concessional financing for the low income countries of the World as part of the International Development Association (IDA) 16th replenishment. Prior to this, she worked in the East Asia and Pacific Region’s – Poverty Reduction and Economic Management unit, as Country Sector Coordinator and Senior Economist for the Philippines, where she led the dialogue on macroeconomic, fiscal policy and governance issues. She has worked in Mongolia, Cambodia and Morocco managing different World Bank programs and the economic and growth policy dialogue. Prior to joining the Bank, Dr. Songwe was a Visiting Scholar at the University of Southern California and at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, USA. She has published several articles on governance, fiscal policy, agriculture and commodity price volatility and trade. Dr. Songwe holds a PhD. in Mathematical Economics from the Center for Operations Research & Econometrics from the Catholic University of Louvain-la-Neuve in Belgium. She holds a BA in Economics and a BA in Political Science from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

  • Areas of Expertise

    • Governance, fiscal policy, competitiveness, trade, financial markets, agriculture and commodity price volatility
  • Current Positions

    • Co-Chair, Food System Economics Commission
    • Chair of the Board, Liquidity and Sustainability Facility
    • Co-Chair, High-Level Panel on Climate Finance 
  • Past Positions

    • Under-Secretary-General, United Nations
    • Executive Secretary, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa
    • Regional Director Africa, International Finance Corporation
    • Country Director for Senegal, Cape Verde, The Gambia, Guinea Bissau, and Mauritania, World Bank
    • Lead Economist, World Bank
    • Adviser to the World Bank managing director for the Africa, Europe, Central Asia and South Asia regions and human resources
    •  Lead Country Sector Coordinator, East Asia and Pacific Region, Poverty Reduction and Economic Managment Sector Deptartment, World Bank
    •  Senior Country Economist, Phillippines, World Bank
    •  Co-coordinator, Food Price Crisis Response, World Bank
    •  Visiting Scholar, University of Southern California
    •  Visiting Scholar, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, USA
  • Education

    • Ph.D. in Mathematical Economics, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE), Université Catholique De Louvain, 1996 
    • Master of Arts in Law and Economics, Université Catholique de Louvain, 1992 
    • Diplôme D’Etudes Approfondies, Sciences Economiques et Politiques, Université Catholique De Louvain, 1991 
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