Dr Kandeh Yumkella to advise the IEA on Africa and energy access

Dr Kandeh Yumkella holding speach

A former UN Under-Secretary-General, Dr Yumkella is joining the IEA as the agency steps up its Africa engagement. (Photocredit: UN)

Dr Kandeh Yumkella, a former United Nations Under-Secretary-General, will become an advisor to the International Energy Agency on Africa and energy access issues at a time when the IEA is significantly expanding its engagement in the region.

Dr Yumkella previously served as Chair of UN-Energy, which promotes inter-agency collaboration on energy at the United Nations, between 2008 and 2015 and was the founding CEO of the Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL) initiative. He has brought a renewed and vital focus to global energy issues, maintaining a strong commitment to championing energy access.

“I am delighted to have Dr Yumkella join the IEA family and look forward to him enhancing our work on Africa cooperation and energy access at such an important time,” said Dr Fatih Birol, the IEA’s Executive Director. “I welcome him as an advisor who will bring a wealth of relevant experience and expertise to our activities in Africa and beyond.”

This week, the IEA and the African Union Commission (AUC) are co-hosting their first joint ministerial meeting to convene high-level stakeholders from across government and industry that are focused on the development of Africa’s energy sector. The summit will take place in the AUC headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on Wednesday.

The event is part of the IEA’s broader cooperation with African governments. The agency is launching two 3-year projects on the continent this year that will focus on energy statistics and energy modelling. In the past few years, Morocco and South Africa have joined the IEA family as Association countries.

The IEA has a long history of working on energy access: it has been collecting country-by-country data and developing a long-term pathway for achieving universal energy access by 2030. Most recently, the IEA chaired the 2019 edition of the inter-agency Tracking SDG7 report, which it co-authored with four other international organisations.

Dr Yumkella’s work for the IEA will include advising on the agency’s 2019 special report on Africa, which will identify key issues and priorities to promote energy development across Africa.

Prior to his work at the United Nations, Dr Yumkella was Sierra Leone’s Minister for Trade, Industry and State Enterprises and an assistant professor at Michigan State University.