Kandeh Yumkella

Hon. Dr. Kandeh Yumkella is a distinguished development economist with vast experience in agricultural economics and energy transitions, and over 30 years of experience in international development. He is founder and CEO of The Energy Nexus Network (TENN), a regional ecosystem hub for sustainable energy solutions. He currently serves as Chairman of the Presidential Initiative on Climate Change, Renewable Energy and Food Security of Sierra Leone. He was a member of Sierra Leone’s parliament from 2018-2023 and served on the Pan-African Parliament 2018-2020. He is a member of the High-Level Group of the Africa-Europe Foundation and co-chair of the Africa-Europe Foundation Strategy Group on Energy.

Previously Dr. Yumkella served for two decades in the United Nations system including as Under-Secretary-General and Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Sustainable Energy for All and founding chief executive officer for the Sustainable Energy for All (SE4All) Initiative (2013–2015), and Chair of UN-Energy (2007-2015). He also served two four-year terms as Director-General of the UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO, 2005–2013). In these capacities, among other accomplishments, Dr. Yumkella mobilized global consensus for the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals 7 and 9. These deal with ensuring access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy for all, and building resilient infrastructure, promoting inclusive and sustainable industrialization and fostering innovation, respectively. A member of pre-eminent global organizations, he is the recipient of numerous internal awards and honorary doctorates. He also serves in various international advisory bodies, boards, and commissions such as We Care Solar, World Bank ESMAP, Africa-Europe Energy Partnership AEEP-Germany, Climate Compatible Group-UK, University of Loughborough MECS Program-UK, Sustainable Energy for All Advisor Council, Women in Sustainability, Environment, and Renewable Energy (WISER-MASDAR, UAE), and Senior Adviser to the Director General of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). Dr. Yumkella holds a Ph.D. In Agricultural Economics from the University of Illinois Urban-Champaign (USA, 1991); Master of Science in Agricultural Economics from Cornell University (USA, 1986), and Bachelor of Science in Agriculture General Division One/Cumm laude, Njala University (Sierra Leone, 1982).