Vera Songwe

Nonresident Senior Fellow

The Brookings Institution

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. Before that, she was an Under-Secretary-General at the United Nations and Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, becoming the first woman to lead the institution in its 60-year history. 

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.

Recently listed as one of Africa’s 50 most powerful women by Forbes,  named as one of the ‘100 Most Influential Africans’ by Jeune Afrique in 2019, ‘100 Most Influential Africans’ by New African Magazine in 2017 and one of the ’25 African to Watch’ by the FT in 2015, Songwe is acknowledged for her long-standing track record of providing policy advice and her wealth of experience in delivering development results for Africa. She has written extensively on the development and economic issues including debt, infrastructure development, fiscal and governance issues. She is well-published and contributes to the development debate across a broad spectrum of platforms including in the Financial Times.