Former Togo Prime Minister becomes first African to head ILO

Gilbert Houngbo, the former Prime Minister of Togo, has been elected the next head of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and will become the first African to lead the United Nations (UN) agency.

After two rounds of voting, the ILO’s governing body elected the 61-year-old to succeed British trade unionist Guy Ryder, who steps down at the end of September, after 10 years in the job.

“You have made history,” Houngbo told the governing body after the election.

“I am deeply and absolutely honoured to be the first representative of the African region to be selected to lead the ILO after 103 years.”

Houngbo was chosen from among five candidates and had been seen in a strong position after the African Union threw its weight behind him.

Currently head of the Rome-based International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), he also enjoyed strong backing on the labour side.

He has previously held several high-level positions within the UN system, such as Finance Director at the UN Development Programme and Deputy Director-General of ILO itself, from 2013-2017.

His opponents in the race were former French Labour Minister Muriel Penicaud, South Korea’s ex-Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha, South African entrepreneur Mthunzi Mdwaba, and ILO Deputy Greg Vines of Australia.

Source & image: The East African & Wikipedia